Shakil Afridi starts hunger strike

Published: November 29, 2012
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Prison officials in Peshawar say they are keeping Afridi in solitary confinement, will not allow him to have visitors. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Prison officials in Peshawar say they are keeping Afridi in solitary confinement, will not allow him to have visitors. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PESHAWAR: The doctor who helped the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hunt down Osama bin Laden started a hunger strike in his jail cell this week to protest against his living conditions, prison officials said on Thursday.

Shakil Afridi was sentenced in May to 33 years in jail for his links to a banned militant group. The decision was widely seen as punishment for helping the CIA find the al Qaeda leader, and has led to strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.

Prison officials in Peshawar said they are keeping Afridi in solitary confinement and will not allow him to have visitors nor speak to anyone by telephone as punishment for a media interview he gave in September.

“After the interview in which Dr. Shakil Afridi levelled serious allegations against the country’s top spy agency, the prison authorities barred his family members and lawyers from meeting him,” said a prison official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

“In protest, Dr Shakil has begun a hunger strike for an indefinite period.”

An investigation following the September interview found that Afridi had bribed guards to use their cell phones to speak to journalists, family and friends, making a total of 58 calls, prison officials said. Six prison guards have been suspended.

US officials have hailed Afridi, aged in his 40s, as a hero for helping pinpoint Bin Laden’s location before the May 2011 raid that killed the al Qaeda leader.

Afridi’s family and lawyers maintain he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

“He is not allowed to meet with us, his brother and other family members. He is a human being and would definitely be frustrated enough to begin a hunger strike,” said Afridi’s lawyer, Samiullah Afridi.

Afridi had been working with the CIA for years before the Bin Laden raid, providing intelligence on militant groups in Pakistan’s tribal region.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • True picture
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:03PM

    and we don’t care about your strike :)

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  • Buttler
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:13PM

    Does all the media including Express Triubune stationed one Journalist for this traitor Afridi…HOW HE PUBLISH HIMSELF IN TOP NEWS SO EASILY…COME ON

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  • Ajit Harisinghani
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:22PM

    He will soon be released and secretly flown to the US… Just Watch….

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  • Muzaffar
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:26PM

    excellent!! this way the traitor will die of hunger and no one would be blamed evil grin

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  • nadeem
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:26PM

    What is the point in confining him, assuming that the Army is not guilty of sheltering OBL. Do the generals (Ayub, Yahya, Zia, Akhtar Abdurehman, Musharraf) have a monopoly on working for the CIA? Are they the only ones who can work for US interests, and if a civilian is found working for the same employer he would be thrown in jail?

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  • Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:30PM

    Good, let he continues strike till his last breath…Recommend

  • Super Star
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:38PM

    He deserves a Nishan e Imtiaz!

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  • A J Khan
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:39PM

    Police should make sure that he does not eat any thing so that his wish is accomplished.

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  • Palestine4ever!
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:42PM

    for what reasons this makes it the TOP Headline?! who is he really? an informer..thats it! why the importance?

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  • Olamba Talaq Mall
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:42PM

    He is a traitor. Should be punished severely.

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  • Someone
    Nov 29, 2012 - 12:54PM

    Let him continue his hunger strike, it would be one good riddance for the country

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  • Umair
    Nov 29, 2012 - 1:03PM

    58 calls he made. These 6 prison guards should be jailed instead of suspension. Corruption is the only bone of contention in Pakistan due to which we are losing our self respect on daily basis. Shakeel Afridi is one of the reasons due to which Pak is among the most dangerous nations to live & he wants to improve his living conditions in jail.

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  • Imran
    Nov 29, 2012 - 1:04PM

    Hang him!

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  • SK5
    Nov 29, 2012 - 1:11PM

    In first glance I thought it said “Shahid Afridi” LOL

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  • Rana
    Nov 29, 2012 - 1:16PM

    Traitor should have been starved to death instead!! Switch him off as early as possible. I am surprised, how easily media have access to all his activities!

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  • ishrat salim
    Nov 29, 2012 - 1:47PM

    @nadeem:

    In Israel all are working with the Americans, yet one of their nuclear scientist made revelation to American journalist that Israel has nuclear arms….he was sentenced as traitor & he is still in jail….that is how things are everywhere….

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  • Umar
    Nov 29, 2012 - 1:57PM

    The comments for this article are completely shameless. This man helped capture a ruthless war criminal. One with Pakistani blood on his hands!! OBL has been involved in the deaths of Pakistani citizens and yet you righty’s keep trumpeting his name. I don’t understand it at all. This man has more of a conscious than all of you. Is is islamic to let a murderer run free?

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Nov 29, 2012 - 2:09PM

    Nice. So he is a traitor.

    Those who stored guns in mosques and killed innocent students are not.

    Those who burned down shops and public property to protest against a video are not.

    Those who waged wars against India and lost them are not.

    Those who committed genocide and broke the country are not.

    Those who trained and brain-washed innocent kids to kill innocent people in Mumbai are not.

    Those who sold nuclear technology to foreign countries for money are not.Recommend

  • Nov 29, 2012 - 2:11PM

    Its rather comical to hear a traitor on a hunger strike, while the rest of the nation is wondering how come he is still six feet above after everything that has come to the fore. He should long have been shot at the back of his head in the oblivion of some underground cellar, KGB style!

    The punishment for a traitor is nothing short of death, no matter which country’s constitution or religion one follows. And this gentleman should have been made an example of a long time ago.

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  • Farooq
    Nov 29, 2012 - 2:28PM

    need to loose weight..

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Nov 29, 2012 - 2:29PM

    Funnily enough, all these ORDINARY Pakistanis who are commenting here, do not even know on what charges he has been sentenced to imprisonment.

    This is is the kind of education and information that Pakistanis get. And based on such poor education, maturity level, they pass judgements.

    Shakil Afridi is in prison on charges of connection to militants and not for helping CIA.

    And I believe he was not even tried in a proper court. He was tried in a tribal court. That way nobody can question why he was imprisoned despite clear lack of evidence.

    This is the pathetic state of Pakistani administration and judiciary and funnily enough, someone has written an article making fun of some Saudi anti-women laws on ET today.

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  • Pinky
    Nov 29, 2012 - 3:18PM

    Whatever..

    Next!!Recommend

  • rp
    Nov 29, 2012 - 3:43PM

    he is not traitor

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  • Najeebullah
    Nov 29, 2012 - 4:08PM

    You guys need to wake up, he was a patriot because of him a terrorist who killed thousands of Pakistanis and others was killed he saved countless lives. Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Nov 29, 2012 - 4:13PM

    @Yoghurt lover:

    Fine ! that is our pathetic state of :Pakistani administration & judiciary…..hello ! no charges could be proved against Ms Afia Siddiqui, yet she is on life imprisonment in US…what about their state of administration & judiciary ?

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  • Samad
    Nov 29, 2012 - 4:22PM

    “He should long have been shot at the back of his head in the oblivion of some underground cellar, KGB style!”

    The viciousness and hatred of these comments is absolutely shocking. It’s really hard to argue against the notion that the majority of the country has completely warped and confused ideas on basic ethics and humanity. We subscribe to jingoistic patriotism, ignoring mass murderers like OBL who live freely in our country, and instead call for the execution of civilians.

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  • Rana
    Nov 29, 2012 - 4:35PM

    @Yoghurt lover:

    I endorse your point that majority of people commenting here are ORDINARY Pakistanis including me! But after reading your whole paragraph & earlier comments, I don’t know why I have strange feeling about you that you might be going through some kind of rabies syndrome? It’s a severe medical condition, in which no one should expect anything positive from the affected one, should we? BTW, it’s note curable!

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  • PaKhtoon
    Nov 29, 2012 - 4:52PM

    @Yoghurt lover: Just shut up and go back to TOI, its non of your business

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Nov 29, 2012 - 4:56PM

    @Ishrat Salim who writes “no charges could be proved against Ms Afia Siddiqui, yet she is on life imprisonment in US…what about their state of administration & judiciary “

    Perhaps Afia Siddiqui’s case is also that of a miscarriage of justice. However, compared to Pakistan, US judiciary is heaven. Compared to India also US judiciary is super fine.

    My question is, was Afia Siddiqui even a Pakistani citizen?

    Besides who do you compare to USA?

    Do you think it would be wise if India compares to Pakistan and how Hafiz Saeed is roaming freely and let Mr. Purohit also go scot-free?

    And you know the funniest thing in Afridi’s case? The organization he is supposed to be associated with “lashkre-islam” has said openly that it wants to “chew Afridi alive”.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Nov 29, 2012 - 4:59PM

    My simple question to Pakistanis.

    Why wasn’t he charged on treason? While you all call him a traitor.

    The answer is simple. What he did was completely within the constitution of Pakistan. There was no law against what he did. Recommend

  • Shah
    Nov 29, 2012 - 5:02PM

    @nadeem:

    Oh bhai..Ayub Khan and CIA interest…dude Army bashing for no reason is one thing but ignorance is some thing different.
    If Army was so much involved with CIA than this traitor would be right now sitting in USA. PLEASE USE THE TUBE LIGHT ONCE IN A YEAR…..

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  • MAD
    Nov 29, 2012 - 5:36PM

    Remember the wartime penalty for spy’s. the Geneva convention never applied on them. It was always a bullet regardless of whether Afridis actions resulted in a greater good or not.

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  • Afzaal Khan
    Nov 29, 2012 - 5:57PM

    Why this guy is still alive?

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  • Richard Holbrooke
    Nov 29, 2012 - 6:16PM

    weightloss

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  • zafar
    Nov 29, 2012 - 6:38PM

    high cholesterol

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  • Justice
    Nov 29, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Another first for Pakistan. Death to innocent people and free the terrorists, for they are bhai bahi.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Nov 29, 2012 - 9:21PM

    @Rana who writes ” I don’t know why I have strange feeling about you that you might be going through some kind of rabies syndrome? It’s a severe medical condition, in which no one should expect anything positive from the affected one, should we? BTW, it’s note curable!”

    Perhaps I should try Tyno-SF? That should make all you liars, fools and liars&fools happy?

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  • shinwari
    Nov 29, 2012 - 10:16PM

    for all those who think he is a traitor
    The authroties jailed him under FCR (black law) for links to taliban not for assisting in finding OBL…bdw many more may go to jails on the same plea in this country…

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  • Kamran Naqvi
    Nov 29, 2012 - 10:51PM

    Why don’t his supporters think of Dr Aafia Siddiqui for a moment?

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  • Rana
    Nov 30, 2012 - 10:00AM

    @Yoghurt lover:

    No, Tyno-SF (toxic) is hazardous for human (ordinary) only, wouldn’t work for you! You might try potassium cyanide; otherwise you can request metropolitan services for appropriate action!!

    Recommend

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