US cuts Pakistan aid over jailing of 'Bin Laden' doctor

Posted May 25, 2012 by Layne Weiss
BBC News reports that a US Senate panel has cut $33 million in aid to Pakistan in response to the jailing of Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama Bin Laden in 2011. That's $1 million for every year of Afridi's sentence.
Osama Bin Laden watches television in a video released on May 7  2011  provided by the U.S. Departme...
Osama Bin Laden watches television in a video released on May 7, 2011, provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.
U.S. Department of Defense
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Afridi's sentence "unjust and unwarranted," BBC News reports.
According to The Guardian, the aid cut would come out of next year's budget, so Pakistan will not feel its effects immediately, but it will increase pressure on Pakistan to either drop Afridi's sentence completely, or at the very least, have his sentence be substantially reduced.
"We need Pakistan. Pakistan needs us, but we don't need Pakistan double-dealing and not seeing the justice in bringing Osama Bin Laden to an end," US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said according to BBC News. Graham referred to Pakistan as a "schizophrenic ally."
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said what Afridi did "was not a crime," but an "effort to locate and bring to justice the world's #1 terrorist," The Guardian reports.
Pakistan has charged back that the US needs to respect its courts and legal proceses.
According to The Telegraph, many in Pakistan believe that once Bin Laden was killed, Afridi should have been taken out of the country to avoid this sort of situation. It was clear his activities would eventually come to light.
According to The Guardian, Afridi may have not even known he was being used to find Bin Laden. Shaukat Qadir, a retired Pakistani army brigadier, wrote that Shakil Afridi was "merely paid to follow instructions." It is not clear if he knew he was working for the CIA.
Afridi was tried for treason under a tribal court for running a fake vaccination program to help the CIA gather information on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, Digital Journal reports. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined $3,500.
According to The Telegraph, officials have said that Afridi was not allowed a lawyer, but he did have the right to defend himself, and he has the right to appeal his verdict.