24 May 2012

Prison for doctor who helped find bin Laden

6:05 pm on 24 May 2012

A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been sentenced to prison for at least 30 years.

Shakil Afridi was found guilty of treason. He was tried under a tribal justice system for running a fake vaccination programme to gather DNA information.

Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in Abbottabad in May 2011.

The killing triggered a rift between the United States and Pakistan, whose government was seriously embarrassed to publicly learn that the al Qaeda leader had been living in Pakistan.

Islamabad said the covert US operation was a violation of its sovereignty.

Shortly after the raid on bin Laden's house, Dr Afridi was arrested for conspiring against the state of Pakistan.

He was found guilty in Khyber district and was also fined 320,000 Pakistani rupees ($US3500). The prison sentence will be extended by a further three years if he does not pay the fine.

A BBC correspondent says it is not clear if Dr Afridi knew who the target of the investigation was when the CIA recruited him, or what DNA he managed to collect in the fake hepatitis B vaccination programme.

Pakistan has not arrested a single person in connection with concealing bin Laden's sojourn in Abbottabad. He had lived in Pakistan for nearly 10 years.