News24

Pakistani jailed over bin Laden 'weak'

2012-05-24 19:05

Peshawar - The Pakistani doctor sentenced to 33 years for treason after being recruited by the CIA to help find Osama bin Laden is in poor health and under medical watch, officials said on Thursday.

Shakeel Afridi is being held at the central prison in the north-western city of Peshawar and was examined twice on Thursday by doctors who found him "weak, depressed and complaining of a bad stomach", a senior health official said.

"Afridi was first examined by a team of local doctors, then another team of senior doctors visited him in jail," the official said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

"Doctors prescribed some medicine, which was immediately provided. He will remain under medical observation inside the jail."

Tribal law

On Wednesday, officials said the surgeon had been convicted and jailed for 33 years under the archaic tribal justice system that has governed Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt since British colonial rule.

A jail official said Afridi was being held in a private cell with extra security, with paramilitary and commandos deployed outside.

Earlier on Thursday, jail official Samad Khan said Afridi was in poor health and being kept away from other prisoners to avert any danger to his life.

A court operating under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), which date back to the 19th century, found him guilty of waging war against the state.

Afridi comes from Khyber, one of the seven districts that make up the tribal belt.

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

A senior official in Khyber, Nasir Khan, defended Afridi's trial.

"We have powers to try a resident of FATA [the federally administered tribal areas] under the FCR enforced in tribal areas," he said.

Secret trial

"The trial was kept secret so that no one can attack him. We did not reveal even the name of the jirga members [a tribal assembly of elders] to avoid any risk."

There have been conflicting accounts about whether Afridi was present during the proceedings.

Nasir Khan said he had appeared on Wednesday when the verdict was announced in Peshawar.

Under the FCR, cases are heard by a five to seven-member jirga, or council of tribal elders, along with two officials from the local political administration, he explained.

Khan said Afridi's trial lasted two months and that he was given full opportunity to defend himself, but was not entitled to a lawyer.

Afridi's punishment was meted out under the Pakistani penal code, Khan said.

He has the right to appeal either to a tribunal or directly to the Peshawar high court, which has in several cases either remitted or annulled tribal sentences, he added.

The tribunal is made up of three former senior civil servants.

Comments
  • Squeegee - 2012-05-24 19:19

    Pakistan is an enemy of the West and of India.

      Vandross - 2012-05-24 19:31

      The west should leave the middle east alone if they want peace

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-24 19:59

      Vandross, if they do will there be peace in the Middle East? Was there ever peace there? No, obviously not. For centuries the Middle East has been ruled by unelected dictators who've enriched themselves at the expense of their people, and destroyed all who disagree with them. It's an extremely chauvinistic region of our world. Just look what Bashar Assad is doing to Syrians and Syria. This is what happens when "the West" leaves the Middle East alone. The freer world, every human being, has a responsibility to respond to cruelty against other human beings. To not do anything is the be irresponsible. Darkness grows as a result.

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 20:06

      The people of the ME are not children Fred. They've had a civilisation in the ME while Europeans were still in the dark ages. leave them alone, and in time they will settle down.

      rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-05-24 22:18

      pakistan is an enemy ofthe west and india? Due the the interference of the west and their' devide and rule policy' countries like pakistan will always have enemies in their neighbours thanks to the west and their obsession to subdue all that is islam. Dont forget that these countries are sovereign states and that it is NO BUSINESS of any other state how they rule these countries! ever Wondered why no state( 'west') have influenced mocambique to speak out or interfere in Zim's business or angola and namibia, ivory coast and ghana? Ya i wonder too!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-25 05:44

      Under no circumstance will I leave anyone alone to be cruel to other human beings. It's exactly that irresponsible mindset which leads to people's lives being destroyed. You should be ashamed, positively ashamed, that you think that way Fidel. It's low and weak.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-25 05:52

      Rudiwaan, unfortunately you're still blinding yourself, lying to yourself, with pseudo-victimhood. The result is that you're weak, with little or no positive impact on moving the world forward in a positive direction. Pakistan is being torn apart by violent, ultra-chavinist Islamists who think blowing up innocent civilians in public places is right, moral, spiritually high behavior. They think stoning women to death is right too. And you do and say NOTHING about this, which makes you complicit with their behavior and actions. Do you understand this? You are killing and maiming innocent people because you're saying and doing nothing to end this barbaric behavior. I hope you do, for your sake, the sake of Pakistan, and your loved ones. The more you numb yourself with this lies you tell yourself, the more you're detached from what is really going on, and you do nothing to move the world in a positive direction.

  • brainbowgold - 2012-05-25 10:04

    Liberty is a concept of personal freedom, perpetuated under common social acceptance and progression of well-being and holistic good health. Pakistan (and others) have some way to go in understanding this concept. Their stubborn and blind commitment to archaic religious rules may very well be the key that will set them free.

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