Senator Jon Tester is backing bipartisan legislation that blocks any U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan until the Asian nation releases an informant who helped the United States locate Osama bin Laden.
U.S. Special Forces raided bin Laden's Pakistan compound in May 2011, using intelligence collected by Dr. Shakil Afridi. Pakistan arrested Afridi in October and later sentenced him to 33 years in prison for "high treason."
Tester's bill, cosponsored by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), prohibits Pakistan from receiving any foreign assistance from the United States until it releases Afridi. Since 2002, Pakistan has received $23.6 billion in U.S. foreign assistance.
"Osama bin Laden was an enemy of the United States and the rest of the world," Tester said. "Anyone who helped bring him to justice deserves high praise, not a prison cell. Unless Pakistan frees Dr. Afridi, they shouldn't be getting a single cent of U.S. taxpayer money."
Tester also recently supported a bipartisan amendment to the State Department's funding bill that cuts assistance to Pakistan by $33 million -- $1 million for every year of Dr. Afridi's sentence.
Dr. Afridi's appeal is set for August 30. Tester and Paul may seek a vote on their bill if Afridi's appeal is denied.
After bin Laden was discovered in Pakistan, Tester called on the Obama Administration to reassess the United States' relationship with Pakistan, saying, "we need to ensure that not one penny is directly or indirectly given to folks who complicate our military operations in the region, place our troops in harm's way, or harbor those who threaten our national security."