Osama bin Laden case: Pakistani doctor who assisted US sentenced for treason


This undated file picture shows Osama bin Laden speaking at an undisclosed place inside Afghanistan.



Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who assisted the US in capturing Osama bin Laden, was convicted of high treason Wednesday and sentenced to 33 years in prison, according to the Associated Press. 

The AP reported that Afridi ran a vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and verify Bin Laden's presence at the compound in the town of Abbottabad where US commandos killed the al Qaida chief last May. Pakistani officials were reportedly outraged about the operation because they were not told about it beforehand.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called for his release on the grounds that his work served Pakistani and American interests, the BBC reported. 

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Since Bin Laden's death, US and Pakistani relations have been strained. According to the BBC, the Pakistan government was embarrassed when Bin Laden was found living in Pakistan.

A government official in the Khyber tribal area, where Afridi was arrested, told the AP that Afridi was also ordered to pay a fine of about $3,500 and will spend an additional three and half years in prison if he does not pay. 

According to the AP, Afridi was tried under the Frontier Crimes Regulations, or FCR, the set of laws that govern Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal region.

The AP said several human rights organizations have criticized the FCR for not providing suspects due process of law. In their system there is no right to legal representation, to present material evidence or the ability to cross-examine witnesses.

In an interview earlier this year US Defense secretary Leon Panetta told CBS that Dr Afridi, "was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan... for them to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part."

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