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Akhtar Amin
Thursday, May 24, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

PESHAWAR: The political administration of Khyber Agency on Wednesday convicted Dr Shakil Afridi, the man who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, and awarded him 33 years in jail on charges of treason, officials said.

 

Dr Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign in which he collected DNA samples, which may have helped the American intelligence agency find Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad.

 

An official of political administration in Khyber Agency told The News that the court of Assistant Political Agent (APA), Bara, Mohammad Nasir Khan, found Dr Shakil Afridi guilty and awarded him 33 years imprisonment under Section 11 of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and sections 121-A (conspiracy to commit offence against the state), 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war against state), 123-A (condemnation of the creation of the state and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty) and 124 (assaulting president, governor, etc, with the intention to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

 

The APA awarded 10-year sentence and imposed Rs100,000 fine on the accused under Section 121-A PPC, 11-year sentence and Rs100,000 fine under Section 123 PPC, 10-year sentence with a fine of Rs100,000 under Section 123-A PPC and a three-year sentence with fine of Rs20,000 under Section 124 PPC, read with Section 11 of the FCR.

 

The APA, who was acting as executive and judicial officer at the same time, on the recommendations of the Qaumi Jirga, also announced a fine of Rs320,000 on the accused. Dr Shakil will have to undergo an additional term of three years if he fails to pay the fine.

 

After the sentence, the political administration shifted the convict to the Central Prison, Peshawar, amid tight security. The APA said that Shakil Afridi had been in the custody of political administration and his trial was held under the FCR within two weeks.

 

On March 29, the Health Department terminated Dr Shakil Afridi from service for organising an unauthorised US-sponsored vaccination campaign in Abbottabad to collect the DNA samples of the people living in the compound where al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden lived with his family. The provincial government acted on a summary received in August from the health directorate of Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which was not authorised to initiate an inquiry against an officer above Grade 18.

 

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department, in its notification, stated that Shakil Afridi had been terminated under the Efficiency & Disciplinary (E&D) Rules for being involved in anti-state activities. Prior to his termination, 15 lady health workers, who were a part of the vaccination campaign, were also terminated from their jobs.

 

Dr Shakil Afridi was arrested by security agencies in July 2011, about two months after Osama bin Laden was killed by US commandos in Abbottabad, and his whereabouts were unknown to his family members. After his conviction, the authorities in Khyber Agency claimed that he was in their custody.