Dr Shakil Afridi appeals conviction: Charity

By AFP
Published: June 1, 2012

Court says Afridi had 'close links' to Lashkar-e-Islam, says his 'love' for group, group's leader was an open secret. PHOTO: INP/FILE

PESHAWAR: Lawyers representing the Pakistani doctor jailed after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden appealed against his conviction on Friday.

Shakil Afridi was on May 24 sentenced to 33 years in jail under the tribal justice system, worsening Pakistan’s already precarious relationship with the the United States.

He was arrested after US troops killed Bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad where he set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to confirm the al Qaeda leader’s presence.

But he was convicted for treason over alleged ties to Lashkar-e-Islam and not for working for the CIA, for which the court said it did not have jurisdiction.

“We have filed an appeal against his conviction and have challenged his sentence and the charges levelled against him,” said Idress Kamal, who heads the Peace Movement, an anti-militancy civil society group that has taken up Afridi’s case.

Kamal said the appeal was filed in a court headed by the commissioner of Peshawar who hears appeals against judgements meted out under the tribal justice system known as the Frontier Crimes Regulation.

“All the charges labelled against him were baseless. Shakil Afridi had no links with Lashkar-e-Islam,” Kamal said.

The faction, led by warlord Mangal Bagh, is widely feared for kidnappings and extortion in the tribal district of Khyber, where Afridi worked for years.

His conviction said Afridi had “close links” to the group, but the militia has denied any links with Afridi and has threatened to kill him.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Peeru Shah
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:18PM

    A Rightful Conviction….Recommend

  • Anon
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:33PM

    where was this Peace Movement charity when Dr. Afia was sentenced? What is this charity doing for the many innocent Pakistan languishing in secret detentions and Bagram Airbase? Only when the US convicts they are terrorists even if a 14 year old Omar Khadr, but if Pakistan convicts them they are peace heroes like the above mentioned. These NGO’s are just looking for an excuse to channel foreign funds.

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  • Abdulmalik
    Jun 1, 2012 - 6:56PM

    Potentially masterful move by the government. It has to convict Afridi because of popular sentiment, but can’t do so on the basis of him working with the CIA to get bin Laden, since that would be a direct affront to the US. So instead they connect him to the pesky L-e-Islam, thereby tarnishing the organization’s reputation (as a potential CIA collaborator) and feeding in to popular feelings that somehow all of Pakistan’s troubles in KP have been created by the West.

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  • Critique
    Jun 1, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Afridi’s deserves jail, but for acting as a spy, not for having links with militants.

    Why does everyone insist on bringing Dr Afia Siddiqui into the discussion? The Peace Movement is a Pakistani movement, working in the jurisdiction of the Pakistani government and courts – which sentenced Afridi. Afia Siddiqui, on the other hand, WAS NOT SENTENCED IN PAKISTAN. Does it look like USA give a damn about what every Tom Dick and Harry movement has to say about someone who was proved to have links with Al Qaeda?

    Lastly, if US/Pakistan wanted Osama so bad, why did they not just run a legit vaccination campaign? I mean it’s not like the DNA samples would be any different…

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  • bangash
    Jun 1, 2012 - 8:00PM

    Aafia Siddiqui is an American citizen.

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  • Err..
    Jun 1, 2012 - 8:43PM

    @banghas and critique
    Afia Siddiqu is a dual citizen which means she is ALSO a pakistani citizen. Her conviction as a terrorist does not rule out the other MANY pakistanis who are innocent and have been held unlawfully without charge by the US in secret detentions like Bagram and Guantanamo Bay. One only has to go to the organisation Reprieves website to see the many Pakistanis languishing there, so once again what is Peace Movement and other such NGO’s doing for such Pakistanis?

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 1, 2012 - 9:24PM

    @Err..:
    I agree with Bangash that Afia is US citizen and as such she has to follow the US laws. While Afridi many not be a hero to some he has helped the world become a better place. What has Afia’s contribution to humanity and peace please enlighten us? I am serious we all know about the works of Afridi but not much about Afia what has she done for humanity and her countries the US and Pakistan?
    Regards,
    MirzaRecommend

  • John B
    Jun 1, 2012 - 9:30PM

    @Err..:
    @Anon:
    Read this and other stories on Aaifa and read again Asad Durrani’s OpEd.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/14/aafia-siddiqui-audiotape-pakistan-lawyers

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  • Imran
    Jun 2, 2012 - 7:56AM

    Well afia was dealt right with !!

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