Bin Laden capture doctor jailed in Pakistan

 

A Pakistani doctor who helped
the US track down Osama bin Laden has been convicted of high treason and
sentenced to 33 years in prison, according to a government official.

Shakil Afridi was also ordered to pay a fine of about 3,500 US dollars (£2,200), said Nasir Khan. If Afridi doesn't pay, he will spend another three and half years in prison.

Mr Khan is a government official in Pakistan's Khyber tribal area, where Afridi was tried.

Afridi ran a vaccination programme for the CIA to collect DNA and verify bin Laden's presence at the compound in the town of Abbottabad, where he was killed last May by US commandos.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has called for Afridi to be released, saying his work served Pakistani and American interests.

Afridi's conviction comes at a sensitive time because the US is already frustrated by Pakistan's refusal to reopen Nato supply routes to Afghanistan.

The supply routes were closed six months ago in retaliation for American air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Afridi was tried under the Frontier Crimes Regulations, the set of laws that govern Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal region.

Human rights organisations have criticised the regulations for not providing suspects due process of law. There is no right to legal representation, to present material evidence or cross-examine witnesses. Verdicts are normally handed down by a Khyber government official in consultation with a council of government elders.

Afridi has the right to appeal against the verdict, said Iqbal Khan, another Khyber government official.

Afridi was detained some time after the raid on May 2 last year, but the start of his trial was never publicised.

"He was working for a foreign spy agency. We are looking after our national interests," said a Pakistani intelligence official.

The US operation that killed bin Laden severely strained ties with Pakistan. The Pakistani government kicked out US military trainers and limited counter-terrorism co-operation with the CIA.

The relationship got worse in November when the US killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two posts along the Afghan border, an attack that Washington said was an accident but the Pakistani army insisted was deliberate.

Pakistan retaliated by closing the Nato supply routes and kicking the US out of a base used by American drones. Before the attack, the US and other Nato countries fighting in Afghanistan shipped about 30 cent of their non-lethal supplies through Pakistan. Since then, the coalition has used more expensive routes through Russia and Central Asia.

The US has pressed Pakistan to reopen the supply line, but negotiations have been hampered by Washington's refusal to apologise for the attack and stop drone strikes in the country as demanded by Pakistan's parliament. Many observers view the latter demand with scepticism because elements within Pakistan's government and military have supported the attacks in the past.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Co...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager - Part Time

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency based in Ashford, Ke...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Marketing Executive

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent