24 July, 2014 / Ramazan 25, 1435
Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, was imprisoned for 33 years on charges of colluding with the banned militant outfit Lashkar-i-Islam.—File Photo
Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, was imprisoned for 33 years on charges of colluding with the banned militant outfit Lashkar-i-Islam.—File Photo
Samiullah Afridi (C), lawyer for Shakil Afridi leaves after a hearing in Peshawar on August 29, 2013. —AFP Photo
Samiullah Afridi (C), lawyer for Shakil Afridi leaves after a hearing in Peshawar on August 29, 2013. —AFP Photo

PESHAWAR: A judicial official on Thursday overturned the 33-year jail sentence of Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA track down former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Afridi was sentenced in May last year on charges of colluding with banned militant outfit Lashkar-i-Islam.

Judicial official Commissioner Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) Sahibzada Mohammad Anees ruled that the previous judge in the case exceeded his authority when handing down last year’s sentence and ordered a new trial.

“The Commissioner of Peshawar has set aside the decision of the Political Agent of Khyber agency and ordered the retrial,” said Samiullah Afridi, the lawyer for Dr Afridi. “The case has been resent to the Political Agent of Khyber agency who earlier awarded 33 years imprisonment to Shakil Afridi,” he added.

“The assistant political agent played the role of a magistrate for which he was not authorised,” said the written judgment.

A political agent and his assistant are representatives of the government in the semi-autonomous tribal areas, not governed by the country's judicial system but a separate set of laws British-era laws called the Federal Crimes Regulation (FCR).

Samiullah Afridi said he argued that the Assistant Political Agent was not authorised to pass such a long sentence, no proper trial was held and his client was not given an opportunity to defend himself.

Afridi was not present in the court during his trial and could not argue in his own defence, officials said after his conviction. Under the tribal system, he would not have had access to a lawyer.

The appeal also said Afridi had “no association” with Lashkar-e-Islam, according to a copy obtained by news agency AFP.

The appeal, filed on June 1, 2012, said Afridi was kidnapped by Lashkar-e-Islam in 2008 and ordered to pay one million rupees ($10,660).

The tribal court had said that Afridi paid two million rupees to the group and helped to provide medical assistance to militant commanders in Khyber.

The militants have denied any links to Afridi, saying they fined him for overcharging patients, and have threatened to kill him.

Afridi had helped the CIA by running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad a month before the US forces raid on a compound in Abbotabad that killed Osama bin Laden. Then-US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed Afridi had worked for US intelligence by collecting DNA to verify bin Laden’s presence.

He was picked up by Pakistani intelligence agents from near Peshawar, two weeks after the raid.

He was sentenced on May 23, 2012 to 33 years in prison and fined Rs320,000 on charges of colluding with Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) and its chief, Mangal Bagh. However, the tribal court had not entertained evidence relating to Shakil Afridi’s involvement with the CIA, citing lack of jurisdiction.

Angry US lawmakers saw the sentence as retaliation for his role in bin Laden's capture, and last year threatened to freeze millions of dollars in vital aid to Islamabad.

Afridi remains in custody and is believed to be held under high security at the Peshawar central jail.

Click here to read a copy of the five-page court document originally issued in May 2012 by the Assistant Political Agent in Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency.

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Comments (51) (Closed)


Shaz
Aug 29, 2013 04:43pm

Dr. Afridi ko bi hamare be-sharam hukmaran and politicians bach hi daing de bil akhir.

AHA
Aug 29, 2013 04:46pm

Dr. Shakil Afridi should be declared a national hero.

Ahmad
Aug 29, 2013 04:50pm

This decision and the the approval by the government of the European Convention on the exchange of prisoners pave the way for the repatriation of Dr Afia and the move of Dr Afridi to the US.

shakeel
Aug 29, 2013 05:01pm

This means our Dr Afia will come home.

shaikh
Aug 29, 2013 05:02pm

if US releases Afia then pakistan may also accept US demand in any form, demand of Afridi is also expected.......................

E
Aug 29, 2013 05:13pm

Only in Pakistans twisted idea of justice would a man who is considered a hero by the western world, for helping bring down the world worst terrorist, be considered a criminal...glad to see some sence of fairness is becoming apparent finally...

Ayaz
Aug 29, 2013 05:58pm

The only person who did good for the country and Pakhtuns is subjected to humiliation and torture ..... Who is leading this unfortunate country?

Observer
Aug 29, 2013 06:01pm

@E Well then MR Raymond Allen Davis was their hero too? what about him?

Salman M
Aug 29, 2013 06:04pm

This decision seems to be taken for either the release of Dr. Afia or for getting more US aid. A very poor decision as being a Pakistani citizen Dr. Afridi should have worked with Pakistani govt for tracking down Bin Laden. No one should be allowed to work for a foreign agency within Pakistan and we should also lodge protest with US Govt for allowing CIA to operate in its allies' jurisdictions without prior permission.

khanm
Aug 29, 2013 06:05pm

I never knew that a sitting judge can exceed his authority.... the judge could not judge his authority. so in other words for any judgment we have a have a second opinion... may be third or forth.... Judges ought to be more leaned than witty, more reverent than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue.

Sher
Aug 29, 2013 06:27pm

Seems somehting is cooking. A swap between Dr. Aafia en Shakil Afridi is imminent.

bangash
Aug 29, 2013 06:42pm

Dr Afridi will be exchanged for Afia Siddiqi.

Anees
Aug 29, 2013 07:09pm

This is just to please the US so that Dr. Afia could (possibly) be released by them.

Imtiaz Faruqui
Aug 29, 2013 07:56pm

@E: Its not the sense of fairness, but millions of dollers of aid being stopped.

Iqbal
Aug 29, 2013 07:59pm

@E: What about if some other country's citizen starts working for another country's intelligence agency especially in the western countries without govt knowledge? Do you think these governments would allow citizens to help other countries secret agencies irrespective of cause? They will be tried according to their laws of treason. No body can dare in western countries to work for another countries intelligence agencies then how can you expect from Pakistan?

He should be trial under the country treason act and should be awarded death sentence.

saythetruth
Aug 29, 2013 08:02pm

As usual USA will put some pressure and Pakistan will be put to shame one more time. It is a shame we have gut less leaders. This DOC should be hanged but he will be a free man soon.

Ali
Aug 29, 2013 08:19pm

@E: Did you see what the West did to Manning? It is about the role he played, it is how he played his role. Still he will be out soon, I said on the day of his sentencing.

RK Yusu
Aug 29, 2013 08:25pm

The man who sentenced Dr Shakil Afridi to a jail term should himself be proceeded against. Am surprised the Chief Justice did not step in there and then, and right a terrible wrong. Hope Afridi can go back to his family soonest.

Yawar Kazmi
Aug 29, 2013 08:42pm

@E: Your western world consist of only US and her lacky UK/AUS/Canada and NZ.( just read what Edward snoden leaked). whereas the whole world are sick n tired of this western worlds' hegemony and war mongering doctorine...The wholle South America. china Africa. Arab n Islamic world opposes and hate imperilist US neo con adminstration.

wasem
Aug 29, 2013 10:15pm

He is a traitor and should be dealt like one. I am sure if he would have told the military, they would have killed OBL as well. Did they not capture Khalid Sheikh? But it would have added respect to our country and not an embarrassment.

By getting him released or his sentence overturned, USA wants to prove that it rules Pakistan. It will send a wrong message to all traitors to be, that if they side with USA against Pakistan, they will be taken care of. The moment this man will be released, he will be given a green card.... and his departure will produce a thousand more Dr Shakeel, I will not call him Afridi..... he is not worth it.

Do not forget, traitors like him brought down complete North Africa recently, and now US proxies are ruling them. Freedom is never with out a price...

saa
Aug 29, 2013 10:53pm

the guy used polio vaccine campaign as a cover. as a result many vaccination teams were attacked last year and campaigns abandoned in many areas. shame on him for putting the lives of children on the line to earn his reward.

moslim
Aug 29, 2013 11:06pm

@E: Shakil Afridi is not a hero, he is a betrayer and a CIA agent

ZAFARI SYED
Aug 29, 2013 11:06pm

@E: Only in Pakistan a person would not be tried for high treason after accepting money from a foreign spy agency and working for it without informing its own government. The trial he got was at least more fair than the justice delivered to Dr. Afia in the USA (84 years for allegedly pointing a gun).

Gerry D'Cunha
Aug 29, 2013 11:09pm

a slap on the face of the judiciary system in pakistan

MKNaeem
Aug 29, 2013 11:10pm

Swap him for Dr.Aafia Siddiquei, let him leave for US. End of the drama.

Najam
Aug 29, 2013 11:28pm

Truth is buried elswhere, it is the first step to get him out of the country, very soon he will be on his way to promised land,USA.

Imran
Aug 30, 2013 12:18am

Hang him for spying against Pakistan.

Mohaisin Sharif
Aug 30, 2013 12:26am

Shakil Afridi will be exchanged with Aafia ?? is first dirty politics by US and Pakistan govt.? A traitor and spy is going to be exchanged with innocent?

AHA
Aug 30, 2013 12:46am

@shakeel: Dr. Afia is coming back. I am not sure about the 'our' part.

saifi
Aug 30, 2013 01:20am

@AHA: National Hero? for which nation??

Adeel Muhammad
Aug 30, 2013 02:14am

Dr Aafia? who is she and what has she done for us? What makes her so important for us? Are we really against terrorism? Evidence is to the contrary. Shakil Afridi should have been our national hero for bringing an end to the world's most wanted terrorist.

As per Aafia, I would have considered her innocent had Jumat Islami not been behind 'Release Aafia' campaign.

m. a
Aug 30, 2013 03:02am

Sir, Since the government is talking about transfer of Aafia Sidique from USA to Pakistan. The current judgement appears to be the part of same thing. The judge probably has been bribed by some one. Next thing will be that Dr. will be given the citizenship of USA and transfered there. Imagine if a country is not ashamed of giving her a prison sentence for eighty years. What else we can expect.

Yankee Cricket Fan
Aug 30, 2013 03:12am

@shaikh: Merely from Pakistan's perspective, Afridi aided a foreign nation in launching an offensive attack inside Pakistan. For that, he should have been tried for treason, and hanged a long time ago. This is what would be done by any sovereign nation, including the US of A.

waseem
Aug 30, 2013 04:47am

He is a traitor and should be dealt like one. I am sure if he would have told the military, they would have killed OBL as well. Did they not capture Khalid Sheikh? But it would have added respect to our country and not an embarrassment.

By getting him released or his sentence overturned, USA wants to prove that it rules Pakistan. It will send a wrong message to all traitors to be, that if they side with USA against Pakistan, they will be taken care of. The moment this man will be released, he will be given a green card.... and his departure will produce a thousand more Dr Shakeel, I will not call him Afridi..... he is not worth it.

Do not forget, traitors like him brought down complete North Africa recently, and now US proxies are ruling them. Freedom is never with out a price...

Aslam
Aug 30, 2013 06:01am

Once they sign prisoner exchange charter, Pakistan is totally banana republic. American spies like Raymond Davis will be murdering and then catching regular flights out of Pakistani international airports.

R J - Canada
Aug 30, 2013 06:34am

Justice prevails eventually - thank you CJ, and Judiciary for seeing the light. Dear Dr. Afridi, we hope that you receive what you truly deserve - a hero's welcome back into society.

Dr.Sohaib abdi
Aug 30, 2013 06:59am

Shakeel Afridi is as controversial as Bin Laden was in Pakistan.

Anees
Aug 30, 2013 07:34am

Re. Ayaz - He didn't do it for Pukhtoons or Pakistan. He did it out of his own greed.

Agha Asad Raza
Aug 30, 2013 08:42am

This man is traitor and deserves what he got!!

Aftab Kenneth Wilson
Aug 30, 2013 12:31pm

In lieu of Dr. Afia ...... Dr. Afridi will be released so no fuss on it. Dr. Afridi is considered as hero in the West and we consider Dr. Afia as heroine of Pakistan. No one is asking who was camouflaging OBL and family for so many years on our soil.

aamir cheema
Aug 30, 2013 03:03pm

Here comes the real face of Imran Khan..always calling others as taritors and now...PTI government in KPK has done wonders for USA.

Satyameva Jayate
Aug 30, 2013 06:06pm

@Mohaisin Sharif: Incomprehensible, indeed. How could Tr. Siddiqui cause such trouble for Pakistan by spying and raising arm for a Non-Pakistani! And, poor Dr. Afridi who helped locate the most wanted murderer in the Rest of the World!!

Anon
Aug 30, 2013 07:53pm

Any count on how many polio cases this man is single-handedly responsible for thus far?

stanley
Aug 31, 2013 01:59am

WELL DONE AFRIDI FOR HELPING CATCHING THE BRUTAL TERRORIST I think afridi has done a great job and must be left free asap

Baba
Aug 31, 2013 02:22am

PTI in action. guess who is paying some donations to Shaukat Khanam..

Baba
Aug 31, 2013 02:27am

by the ways, kudos to Afridi - if he gets a pardon from PAK-ARMY he is one lucky (insert-proper-abbreviation-here). I don't have anything against him, he did what I would too but see how kids are getting polio because of non-vaccination I am terribly angry with the both the Pakis and Americans on publishing this detail - who saw it coming? perhaps he did and if he did, he must be sued where ever his backbottom goes..

Isadora
Aug 31, 2013 03:03am

@Yankee Cricket Fan: Dr. Afridi was helping Pakistan too. Are you so used to watching things blow up that when someone helps kill those who would kill you, it doesn't matter how he is treated.

beam
Aug 31, 2013 12:10pm

The fun part will be when ?DR afia will not be sent back in exchange. Afia will herself refuse to come to Pakistan. From one hell hole to another!

asfandyar
Aug 31, 2013 07:09pm

@aamir cheema: It was a judicial commissioner not pti.

ZAFARI SYED
Aug 31, 2013 08:18pm

@R J - Canada: He deserves what any spy working for another country for money deserves. His misuse of a Doctor's oath alone deserves taking away his degree. This has sabotaged the polio vaccination projects as now no one trusts an NGO or government agency working in the health sector. .

p r sharma
Aug 31, 2013 10:02pm

@Agha Asad Raza: and by your logic those who helped OBL to stay safe in Pakistan are the patriots.