Prosecution of Afridi sends wrong message: US
Washington: The US Friday hoped that the overturning of 33-year jail term given to Shakeel Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA track Osama Bin Laden, would lead to an outcome reflecting that bringing al-Qaeda chief to justice was clearly in Pakistan`s interests as well that of America.
"We have seen the reports that Dr Afridi`s sentence was overturned. Our position on Dr Afridi has long been clear. We regret both that he was convicted and the severity of his sentence," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.
"We hope this latest development leads to an outcome that reflects the fact that bringing Osama bin Ladin to justice was clearly in Pakistan`s interests as well as ours," Harf said.
Dr Afridi is set to face a fresh trial after Pakistan`s Frontier Crimes Regulation commissioner Sahibzada Mohammad Anees yesterday overturned the 33-year jail term given to him.
"We continue to believe, of course, that the prosecution and conviction of Dr. Afridi sends exactly the wrong message about the importance of this shared interest," Harf said, adding that she would not use the words welcome or pleased for the latest developments.
"We hope this latest development leads to an outcome that reflects the fact that we believe this was in both of our shared interests. I know there`s a process, and I just don`t want to get ahead of it," Harf said.
Meanwhile, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded the Pakistani government?s decision to throw out the conviction of Afridi as "a big step in the right direction."
"This heroic doctor should never have been charged with a crime in the first place. This at least gives Pakistan a chance to redeem itself," he said.
"Hopefully Pakistan will take a second look and totally free Dr Afridi. Until then, Congress must assume that Pakistan has a government hostile to the United States," he said.
Rohrabacher also applauded the diplomatic efforts as well as the hard work and commitment of American citizens across the country who have stood up for this heroic person who helped bring to justice the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11.
"Sometimes our government speaks softly, but every American patriot has demanded that Dr. Afridi not be abandoned," he said.
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