WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday denounced as "unjust and unwarranted" the treatment of a Pakistani doctor who was jailed for 33 years for helping in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
A tribal court in Khyber on Wednesday convicted Shakeel Afridi of treason after he agreed to collect DNA for US intelligence to verify the presence of the most-wanted Al-Qaeda leader.
"We regret both the fact that he was convicted and the severity of his sentence," Clinton told a joint press conference with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
The chief US diplomat said Afridi's role "was instrumental in taking down one of the world's most wanted murderers. That was clearly in Pakistan's interest, as well as ours and the rest of the world's."
Afridi ran a fake vaccination program designed to collect bin Laden family DNA from the compound in Abbottabad, where the Al-Qaeda leader was shot dead in a US commando raid in May 2011.
The doctor's actions "to help bring about the end of the reign of terror designed and executed by bin Laden was not in any way a betrayal of Pakistan," Clinton said.
"We are raising it (his case) and we will continue to do so because we think that his treatment is unjust and unwarranted," she said.
Her remarks were stronger than those given Wednesday by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland who said Pakistan had "no basis for Dr. Afridi to be held." (AFP)