Court allows family to see Pak doctor jailed after Osama raid

Peshawar: A Pakistani high court today ordered authorities to allow family visits for a doctor jailed after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden.

Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Daud Khan issued the orders after hearing a petition by doctor Shakeel Afridi's brother, according to defence lawyer Latif Afridi and provincial government attorney Qaiser Ali Shah.

"The writ was filed in October after authorities did not allow the family to see Shakeel Afridi in jail and the honourable court today ruled in our favour," Latif Afridi told AFP. "According to jail rules a prisoner can see his family members after 15 days," Afridi said.

The CIA recruited Shakeel Afridi for a fake vaccination programme in a bid to confirm the 9/11 mastermind was living in Abbottabad. The plan was to use the drive as cover to collect DNA material after vaccinating bin Laden's children as a way of positively identifying the Al-Qaeda leader.

The doctor was convicted under Pakistan's tribal justice system and jailed to 33 years in 2012 for having ties to militants. Last year a tribunal cut 10 years off his sentence. Some US lawmakers have said the case was revenge for his help in the search for the Al-Qaeda chief.

Pakistan's powerful army were hugely embarrassed by the May 2011 US special forces raid -- conducted without Pakistani knowledge -- that found and killed bin Laden in the northern town of Abbottabad, a stone's throw from an elite military academy.

The CIA's fake vaccination campaign increased Taliban opposition to immunisation drives, which the militants say are cover for spying, and attacks on health teams have claimed 78 lives since December 2012.

Officials said in March that the tribunal hearing an appeal by the doctor was dissolved because the contracts of its members and chairman expired in January and no replacements have been hired or plans made to renew them.

A former lawyer of the doctor, Samiullah Afridi, was also shot dead in northwest Pakistan in March, officials said, with two militant groups claiming responsibility for the attack.

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