‘Afridi will rot in dungeon if US loses interest’

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher expressed concern about jailed Afridi and said that without US intervention, he will be left to `suffer in a dungeon`.

Updated: Jun 19, 2012, 18:56 PM IST

New York: US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has expressed concern about jailed Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi and said that without US intervention, Dr Afridi will be left to "suffer in a dungeon."

Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a Pakistani court after he was found ``guilty`` of helping the CIA track down al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan`s garrison town of Abbottabad.

However, little has been heard of the doctor`s case since that time.

"It doesn`t appear that other people are taking this case seriously. I don`t see any movement. If we let that person just hang on a limb and forget him, now that he`s put himself in danger for us -- well shame on us. I am very concerned that the United States will shame itself by letting Dr Afridi sit there and suffer in a dungeon, and be tortured," Fox News quoted the Republican congressman, as saying.
Rohrabacher added that he is "frantically" trying to keep people focused on it.

The State Department, however, says it is still focused on the case.

Spokesman Mark Toner said in an email: "We continue to urge Pakistan to consider his appeal in a manner that is expeditious, transparent and consistent with due process. We consider his treatment and his sentencing to be among the range of important issues we are in the midst of discussing with the Pakistani (government)".

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said at a briefing last week that the U.S. has "not been able to be in contact" with Afridi.

Rohrabacher, though, said the US should "flat-out" demand his release, let alone an appeal, and take a tougher stance. He questioned how the US would enlist the support of foreign informants in the future if Afridi is left behind.