A doctor from Pakistan who was instrumental in helping the United States find Osama bin Laden, received a sentence of 33 years behind bars. He was convicted of conspiracy against the government. The verdict will likely strain even further the already fragile relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan.
Skakil Adridi was in charge of a program to collect DNA with the CIA. He used the DNA to verify the presence of bin Laden at the Abbottabad compound where he was killed by U.S. Navy Seals. The raid that killed the leader of al-Qaeda caused outrage in the Pakistani government, who called it treachery.
U.S. senior officials have urged Pakistan officials to release Afridi, saying the doctor’s work served the interests of both countries. However, a number of officials in Pakistan, especially who work in the spy agency, are not in agreement. One intelligence official for Pakistan, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Afridi was working as a spy, and they are working for the national interests of the country.
Some time following the raid of May 2, 2011, Afridi was apprehended by Pakistan officials; however, his trial never appeared in the local or international media. He was tried by the laws that cover the semiautonomous tribal area of Pakistan. Human rights advocates criticized the Pakistani government for not giving the defendant his due process of law. In his case, he had not right to be represented by legal counsel, no right to provide material evidence and he could no cross-examine the state’s witnesses.
He can appeal his conviction, but if not overturned he will spend 33 years in prison and have to pay fines totaling $3,525 and if the fines are not paid, he will receive another sentence of three years behind bars.