Lawyer quits Shakil Afridi case over threats

Published: May 11, 2014
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“Threats [against me and my family] have increased over the last few days, ever since Dr Shakil’s sentence was reduced by the court to 10 years in prison,” he said. PHOTO: FILE

“Threats [against me and my family] have increased over the last few days, ever since Dr Shakil’s sentence was reduced by the court to 10 years in prison,” he said. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: A key member of the defence team of Dr Shakil Afridi – who was arrested for conducting a phony vaccination campaign to help the CIA track down Osama bin Laden – has quit the case after receiving threats.

Advocate Samiullah Afridi, who was part of Dr Shakil’s defence team from the beginning, had moved abroad in December, last year, after receiving threats from ‘unknown people’. On Saturday, he said he will not be part of the case proceedings henceforth.

Talking to The Express Tribune by phone, Samiullah said he and his family were facing severe pressure and it was no longer possible for him to defend Dr Shakil.

“Threats [against me and my family] have increased over the last few days, ever since Dr Shakil’s sentence was reduced by the court to 10 years in prison,” he said. “Unidentified people told me I could be targeted anytime if I did not leave the case.”

Asked if he took Dr Shakil’s family into confidence before taking the decision, Samiullah said his client’s family was not very happy with his decision. “But how can I proceed with this case if my own life and the lives of my family members are in danger?” he asked.

Samiullah left Pakistan on December 10, 2013 after militants threatened to blow up his car because of his role as a central lawyer in Dr Shakil’s defence team.

However, on March 15 this year, the day the Frontier Crimes Regulation commissioner reduced Dr Shakil’s jail term by 10 years, Samiullah told the media that the defence team still had reservations against the ruling and would challenge it before the Fata tribunal.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • May 11, 2014 - 6:05AM

    offcourse, he did what he did for money, i mean compromising children health by using vaccination as a tool in war, it is absurd, greedy people like afridi makes me sick

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  • May 11, 2014 - 10:06AM

    The role of the criminal defense attorney is so very important in a progressive and just society. Its really sad that the country allows such actions to continue against those that are assets to the nation.

    Defense attorneys are law enforcers. They end up representing an individual against all the power of the state – a state with resources that are usually unlimited. That too against an individual who usually has little to no money. The defense attorney keeps the police or authroities honest. They actually “police the police”. They make sure that the police follow the rules they themselves set in place. Consider issues that should be explored such as – constitutionality of a search, a coerced confession, an unlawfully suggestive lineup, or the fabrication of testimony. Adherence to such protects not only the accused but all citizens.

    Defense attorneys ensure that the prosecutor is adhering to the professional requirement not merely to convict, but to do justice.

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  • faisal
    May 11, 2014 - 10:49AM

    Everyone is entitled to a lawyer irrespective of his crimes so that his point of view can be communicated to the judge and for legal advice regarding his situation. Just like everyone is entitled to a doctor, even a prisoner of war. Its stupid to threaten lawyers and its stupid to say lawyers shouldn’t represent bad people.

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  • Neo
    May 11, 2014 - 11:24AM

    @ali:
    Your words says it all, you love every person who loves bad person,perfect pakistani!!!!!

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