Shakil Afridi, doctor linked to CIA search for bin Laden, to be retried


This photograph shows Pakistani surgeon Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden. The court judgment from his sentencing showed on May 30, 2012, that he was tried for treason for links to a militant group, not for helping the CIA.



Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor linked to the CIA's search for Osama bin Laden, will be retried after officials in Pakistan overturned his jail sentence.

Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in prison in May 2012 when a tribal court charged him with treason and convicted him of, among other things, running a fake vaccination trial program in Abbottabad in order to gather information to verify bin Laden's location.

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Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces at an Abbottabad compound in May 2011.

Afridi's lawyer said the retrial should start within a month, but that does not mean it will have a different result than the original trial.

The vaccination program was allegedly meant to collect bin Laden's DNA so the CIA could compare it to samples of the al Qaeda leader's family DNA it already had, but nobody at the compound wanted to be vaccinated.

A report filed with a Pakistani appeals court also alleged that Afridi admitted to receiving $75,800 from handlers for running the vaccination trial.

Bind Laden's killing created conflict between the US and Pakistan, which felt the operation violated its sovereignty.

Afridi's participation in the covert operation also angered many Pakistanis, making his possible release politically very damaging.