Free Afridi Campaign Launches Ad, Poll in Military Times
The Free Afridi campaign, which works for the release of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who helped the U.S. find Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, launched a new advertising campaign on his behalf today through Military Times, a print and online newspaper primarily read by members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.
The ad asks: "Which would you rather be? Captured and Tortured, or Rescued and Set Free?" It directs readers to the Free Afridi website (www.freeafridi.com), where they can sign a petition for Dr. Afridi's release.
The advertising campaign is timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the successful bin Laden raid, and with the expected decision in Dr. Afridi's appeal in Pakistan, where he is serving a 33-year sentence.
The Free Afridi campaign will combine both online and print ads, according to a press release:
The campaign starts today with banner ads in www.MilitaryTimes.com, www.ArmyTimes.com, www.NavyTimes.com, www.AirforceTimes.com and www.MarineCorpsTimes.com, linking to the poll at FreeAfridi.com. On May 13th, a magazine-size, full page ad will appear in all editions of Military Times. The May 13th issues, which are delivered worldwide starting May 6th, will be sent to 245,000 Active Duty, retired, enlisted and veteran subscribers and seen by an estimated 637,000 readers. The results of the poll will be sent to Congress, the State Department and the White House.
The campaign is led by MMRGlobal CEO Robert H. Lorsch and RHL Group President Kira Reed Lorsch, who are based in Los Angeles and support a variety of philanthropic causes. Mr. Lorsch said, "April 25th was the first day of what has become a two-day appeal hearing for Dr. Afridi. The next day of the hearing takes place tomorrow, May 2nd.
"The fate of Dr. Afridi and his release could be decided at that time. Therefore, it is important that the government of Pakistan understand why Americans are concerned about this issue and that Dr. Afridi should go free on behalf all people in the world terrorized by bin Laden."
Mrs. Lorsch added: “This Free Afridi campaign is designed to appeal to the men and women who are in harm’s way protecting our nation throughout the world and could someday find themselves confronted with a similar dilemma, to decide if or when someone gets left behind. If we do not help free Dr. Afridi, who will be there to assist America next time we ask them to?"
Both indicate that they will continue their campaign even if the decision in Dr. Afridi's appeal is unfavorable. Their goal is to urge the U.S. to take action--in part through a White House petition that is available through the Free Afridi website and that is seeking to obtain 100,000 signatures by May 22.
The first ad in the campaign was launched in February, prior to the Academy Awards, when an ad was placed in the Hollywood Reporter that solicited and obtained the support of the stars of Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke.
Dr. Afridi is currently reported to be on hunger strike in protest against the conditions of his imprisonment in Peshawar, Pakistan, where he has been denied access to counsel and visits with his family. His lawyers told Breitbart News earlier this week that they were optimistic about the success of his appeal. A member of the family, speaking exclusively with Breitbart News last month, appealed to President Barack Obama to intercede on Dr. Afridi's behalf.