Doctor who helped CIA track Osama on fast in jail

Apr 29, 2013, 07:21 IST | A Correspondent

Dr Afridi has gone on a hunger strike to protest against prison conditions

Shakil Afridi, the doctor who allegedly worked for the CIA to help track down Osama bin Laden, has gone on a hunger strike at Central Jail in Pakistan’s Peshawar city to protest the jail administration’s ‘ill-treatment’. Afridi, through a fake vaccination campaign, had reportedly provided a lead for the US Navy Seals operation in which the Al Qaeda chief was killed in Abbottabad near Islamabad.

Dr Shakil Afridi was imprisoned at Peshawar’s Central Jail for his alleged links with a militant organisation. File pic

He was arrested for his alleged link to the CIA and also charged with having links to banned religious outfit Lashkar-i-Islam. Afridi’s brother Jamil Afridi told the daily that the authorities were not allowing the doctor’s family to meet him, and since August 2012 they had no information about him. The government has also ordered for Shakil’s medical check-up but the jail authorities are not providing him treatment as well as medicine, Jamil said.

“He is on hunger strike as he is not treated well in jail,” Jamil added. Afridi’s counsel Samiullah Afridi told the Dawn newspaper that for the last six months no one has been allowed to meet the doctor. This was against the rights of a prisoner, he stressed. “Denying the right of consultation and meeting with legal advisor and family is an injustice and he should be allowed to meet his friends,” he said.

Samiullah said that perhaps due to allegations that the doctor gave an interview to a Western TV channel and a camera and cellphone were carried to the jail by some policemen might have been a pretext to deny him meeting rights. About his arrest and conviction, the counsel said, it’s strange, Dr Afridi was arrested for his alleged support in the Osama bin Laden operation but when the government failed to prove anything, they convicted him just in one day on May 23, 2012 without any trial which has no legal justification.

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