Posted Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at 2:34 PM
A doctor who helped the United States find Osama Bin Laden has been sentenced to 33 years for treason in Pakistan.
Shakeel Afridi led a phony hepatitis B vaccination campaign with the goal of gathering DNA evidence that would match those of Bin Laden relatives U.S. officials had on hand. While he didn’t succeed, the doctor provided information that top American brass said was key in finding the 9/11 mastermind.
U.S. officials have been seeking his release since Pakistani authorities arrested him following the famous raid of Bin Laden’s compound. But Pakistan has ignored calls for his release. Western aid and health care workers in the country have also reported unforeseen consequences of the phony vaccination scheme: visa difficulties and harassment from intelligence agents who suspect their motivations.
The sentencing, which could have carried the death penalty, puts already troubled U.S.-Pakistani relations under further strain.