US denies reports of Aafia-Afridi prisoner swap agreement

Published July 25, 2013
Earlier this month, Pakistani media reported that the US had offered Pakistan to sign a prisoner exchange agreement, calling for a release of Pakistani prisoner Dr Shakil Afridi in exchange for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.—File Photo
Earlier this month, Pakistani media reported that the US had offered Pakistan to sign a prisoner exchange agreement, calling for a release of Pakistani prisoner Dr Shakil Afridi in exchange for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The US embassy in Islamabad on Wednesday denied reports of a prisoner swap deal with Pakistan involving Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

Earlier this month, Pakistani media reported that the US had offered Pakistan to sign a prisoner exchange agreement, calling for a release of Pakistani prisoner Dr Shakil Afridi in exchange for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

“No, the United States government is not in discussions with the Government of Pakistan on a prisoner exchange or transfer involving Dr. Aafia Siddiqi,” said Meghan Gregonis, a spokesman for the US embassy.

On September 23, 2010 Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani imprisoned in the US, was sentenced by a US court to 86 years for having attempted to kill American soldiers. She is currently being held in a maximum-security prison in Texas.

The Government of Pakistan requested her transfer to Pakistan in 2010, said the embassy spokesman.

“However, we are not aware of a recent request from Pakistan to discuss her case, nor the case of Dr. Shakil Afridi,” she added. “The United States and Pakistan do not have and are not negotiating a bilateral prisoner exchange agreement.”

Afridi, a Pakistani doctor, aided the CIA in tracking down former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad.

He was sentenced for committing treason and is currently being held at a prison in Peshawar.

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