Feeling pressure from U.S. officials, a Pakistani court took ten years off the jail sentence of Doctor Shakil Afridi Saturday. Afridi was a key source of information in finding and killing Osama bin Laden.
According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Afridi was originally arrested shortly after bin Laden's death on suspicion of working with the banned group Lashkar-e-Islam, or the Army of Islam. He was quickly sentenced to 33 years in jail.
But in American eyes, Afridi’s trial has been a sham of trumped-up charges. According to the BBC, even the doctor himself was kept in the dark, writing in a letter, "I don't know what's happening in my case. I don't know on what grounds the commissioner suspended my sentence."
After his sentencing, the U.S. Congress voted to dock Pakistan $33 million in aid – $1 million for every year of the sentence.
Despite the shortened sentence, U.S. officials still aren't happy with Pakistan’s treatment of Afridi, demanding the doctor be released immediately. And according to The New York Times, Afridi's lawyer said they are "not satisfied with the decision" and could appeal.
Although the CIA has lauded Afridi as a hero, in his home nation of Pakistan some label him as a traitor. The doctor is believed to have run a fake vaccination drive to gain the terrorist leader’s DNA sample.
According to The Times of India, the doctor denies helping the CIA at all, but U.S. officials say he did play a role in finding bin Laden.
When Afridi was arrested, critics accused the U.S. of failing to protect their inside source. But a CNN analyst says this situation could be more complicated than that.
"It could be that they just didn't exfiltrate him quick enough and didn't plan for it. But more likely this was a long term investigation, they knew Dr. Afridi well and so more likely, it is that he didn't want to leave then." (Via CNN)
The Afridi saga is the latest point of contention between the U.S. and Pakistan as the two nations work to keep the peace in Afghanistan and monitor the region's nuclear activity.