Thursday, May 24, 2012

US threatens to cut Pakistan aid following jailing of Osama bin Laden doctor

Pakistan's problematic relationship with the US plunged to new depths as Senators warned of aid cuts after the jailing of the surgeon who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden.

Shakeel Afridi was found guilty of treason, sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined 320,000 rupees (£2,200) under an archaic tribal justice system that has governed Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt since British rule.

Afridi was not entitled to a lawyer but was given a chance to defend himself and has a right to appeal the verdict, officials said.

Critics said he should not have been tried under tribal law for an alleged crime that took place outside the tribal belt, in the town of Abbottabad where he ran a fake vaccination programme designed to collect bin Laden family DNA.

The US government said Pakistan had no basis to hold Afridi, who is reportedly in poor health and being kept away from other prisoners to avoid any danger to his life. Read More