May 20, 2017 01:59 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Aide who helped find Bin Laden could be freed from jail

Shakil Afridi could be just days away from being freed. Since he took office, President Trump has appealed to the Pakistani president Mamnoon Hussain to free the doctor

Shakil Afridi (pictured) could be just days away from being freed if President Trump fulfils his campaign promise

Shakil Afridi (pictured) could be just days away from being freed if President Trump fulfils his campaign promise

The doctor jailed for helping US forces get Osama Bin Laden could be just days away from being freed.

There is new hope that Shakil Afridi could be released from jail because President Trump - who promised during his campaign to free Afridi within 'two minutes' - is set to meet with the Pakistani president, Mamnoon Hussain, at an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia this weekend.

'We strongly believe that all hurdles will be removed in Dr. Shakil's release,' attorney Qamar Nadeem told NBC News. 

In 2011, Afridi  - who was Bin Laden's trusted physician - helped the CIA run a fake hepatitis vaccine program to collect DNA samples of the 9/11 mastermind to confirm he was living in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

When the Pakistani government discovered his role in capturing Bin Laden, they immediately caught him when he was just minutes away from fleeing the country. A year after he was jailed, he was sentenced to 33 years in prison, initially on charges of treason and later because of his alleged connections with a local Islamic warlord. 

His lawyers appealed the verdict and his sentence was overturned. But just a year later, the Pakistani government charged him in connection with his patient's death eight years earlier. 

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'I would get [Afridi] out in two minutes...because we give a lot of aid to Pakistan. We give a lot of money to Pakistan,' he told Fox news.
'Contrary to Mr. Trump's misconception, Pakistan is not a colony of the United States of America,' Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said in a statement the month following Trump's comments

Last April, Trump - pictured on the White House South Lawn before his departure today - said he could free Afridi in 'two minutes' because the US gave a 'lot of aid' to Pakistan. But his comments triggered a sharp response from the Pakistani government, who insinuated that the doctor's freedom will not be dependent on the US. Pictured on the right is Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain at the 2016 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

In 2011, Afridi - who was Bin Laden's trusted physician - helped the CIA organize a fake hepatitis vaccine program to collect DNA samples of the 9/11 terrorist

In 2011, Afridi - who was Bin Laden's trusted physician - helped the CIA organize a fake hepatitis vaccine program to collect DNA samples of the 9/11 terrorist

Donald Trump said he could easily free the US aide if he took office, while campaigning in 2016. 

'I would get [Afridi] out in two minutes...because we give a lot of aid to Pakistan. We give a lot of money to Pakistan,' he told Fox news.

Pakistani government officials responded, insinuating that Afridi's freedom will not come easy.

'Contrary to Mr. Trump's misconception, Pakistan is not a colony of the United States of America,' Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said in a statement the following month. 

While Pakistani has seemed immune to the mounting pressure from the United States to free Afridi, Nadeem is optimistic that the Middle Eastern government is close to freeing his client.

Things have finally started going in the right direction due to increased pressure on Pakistan by the U.S. officials,' he said.

The State Department spokesperson commented on Wednesday about the growing hopes for Afridi's freedom but did not offer any indication on timing.

'We believe Dr. Afridi has been unjustly imprisoned and have clearly communicated our position to Pakistan on Dr. Afridi's case, both in public and in private,' the spokesperson said.

'We continue to raise this issue at the highest levels during discussions with Pakistan's leadership.'

A 336-page report of the investigation into Bin Laden's raid was leaked to the public in 2013 and many of those who helped find the terrorist have been threatened.

Militant groups have threatened Afridi's attorney's life and in 2015, one of his lawyers, Samiullah Afridi, was shot dead by unknown men in Peshawar in March 2015.

  

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