Today, Sen. Rand Paul issued the following letter to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) regarding Dr. Shakil Afridi's detention in Pakistan and news reports that he has suffered extensive torture at the hands of the Pakistani government for his role in helping the U.S. get Osama bin Laden. Below is the text of that letter.
Sen. Paul also released the following statement today, underlining his desire to bring this issue to the floor of the Senate as soon as possible.
"I will continue to work tirelessly to keep this issue front and center. America should not give foreign aid to a country whose government is torturing the man who helped us kill Osama bin Laden. We should not be giving foreign aid to any country that is not clearly our ally. This must end, and this week I will renew my push for a vote on this issue, including holding up Senate business to accomplish this goal," Sen. Paul said.
TEXT OF LETTER:
September 10, 2012
The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader Reid,
The appeal date for Dr. Shakil Afridi, who remains in Pakistani custody, has been delayed several times. While his next court date is set for Sept. 27, 2012, Dr. Afridi's lawyers now believe that the repeated delays are nothing more than a stalling tactic by Pakistan's intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Since his arrest, as recent media accounts have revealed, Dr. Afridi's personal finances have been raided by the ISI, he has been kept in inhumane conditions, forced to sign false confessions under torture, and been subjected to a wave of false accusations made by persons who, in some cases, do not exist. All the while, Dr. Afridi maintains that he acted in support of the CIA's Abbottabad vaccination operation out of "respect and love for" the American people, emphasizing that he was "proud to work with" the CIA.
As you know, the United States Government currently gives Pakistan more than $2.1 billion annually in foreign aid, and the Obama Administration is now releasing an additional $1.2 billion. No foreign government as blatantly defiant of American priorities as Pakistan should benefit from billions upon billions of American taxpayer dollars. It is time for that practice to come to an end.
For many months I have worked tirelessly to bring awareness to Dr. Afridi's plight, and I have offered legislation to deny any current or future foreign assistance to the Pakistani government until they reverse course and free Dr. Afridi. It is now abundantly clear that Pakistan has no intention of pursuing a proper and just hearing for Dr. Afridi-in fact, just this month the Director General of the ISI indicated it would be in the best interest of the United States to "forget the matter of Dr. Afridi." I will not forget Dr. Afridi, and it is time for the Senate to show it has not forgotten-or turned a blind eye to-Dr. Afridi.
In a letter dated July 12, 2012, I asked that you work with me to schedule a vote on my bill to end aid to Pakistan until Dr. Afridi is freed, S. 3269. As of today, that vote as not been scheduled. As you know, the number of work days in the 112th Congress is dwindling, and Congress may break for the November election as soon as next week. Because of the urgency of seeing that Dr. Afridi is freed, I am prepared to pursue any and all means to secure a vote on my bill immediately, including objecting to other Senate business and recessing the Senate for the election.
I hope you will work with me to ensure that Dr. Afridi's situation is addressed on the Senate floor without delay.
Rand Paul, M.D.
United States Senator