[JURIST] A Pakistani doctor who helped the US government find Osama Bin Laden [JURIST news archive] was convicted last week for his association to a militant group in Pakistan, not for his ties to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website], as was originally reported. A court document released to the press [Reuters report] indicates that Dr. Shakeel Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in prison because of his association with a banned militant group. The document noted that the court did not have jurisdiction to address Afridi’s association with the CIA. Afridi was part of a CIA attempt to gather DNA samples from residents of Bin Laden’s Abbattobad compound in an effort to determine whether Bin Laden was present there. Pakistani court officials originally reported [JURIST report] that Shakil was imprisoned because of his work with the CIA. It is unclear why these false reports were made.
Since controversy arose over the killing of Bin Laden [JURIST report] by US forces in Pakistan last May, Pakistan’s alliance with the US has been questioned. In December the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] formed a judicial committee to investigate a secret memo sent from an unknown Pakistani source to US Admiral Mike Mullen in May asking for help in preventing a suspected army coup. Former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari [BBC profile] have been accused of writing or having knowledge of the memo, and both have denied these allegations. The growing conflict between the US and Pakistan was analyzed by JURIST guest columnist Sikander Ahmed Shah in Drone Strikes in Pakistan: Examining Consent in International Law [JURIST op-ed]. Pakistan has also faced an ongoing struggle with corruption that the courts have attempted to battle.
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