Man who helped US find Osama Bin Laden may soon be released from Pakistani jail

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India May 01, 2018, 07.39 PM(IST)

File photo: Osama bin Laden Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Dr Shakil Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad compound could be released this month after authorities remitted 10 years of his sentence, according to his lawyer.

The US has been pressing Pakistan to release Dr Afridi, who was involved in a CIA-linked plan to find bin Laden with a fake vaccination operation in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.

Advocate Qamar Nadeem told the BBC Urdu service that Dr Afridi, who has received several remissions in sentence, will complete his jail term this month.

He said that Dr Afridi was awarded a total of 33 years jail term on four different charges in which he was awarded 30 years on three counts while three years on one. However, after an approval of his appeal, 10 years of imprisonment had been remitted, the Express Tribune reported.

According to Mr Nadeem, if Dr Afridi's total jail term and remissions are taken into consideration, then he is likely to be freed this month.

Dr Afridi, 56, was shifted to Adiala Jail of Rawalpindi from Peshawar central jail on Friday, apparently due to security concerns.

According to media reports, he was moved in a helicopter but no official statement was issued by the government. However, it is still not clear as to whether he will be kept in Adiala jail or shifted to another location, the report said.

There is a chance that after his release, Dr Afridi might move to the US to settle there permanently, it said.

On April 28, an official of the Central Prison Peshawar confirmed that in the afternoon a large number of policemen as well as army contingent reached the prison and took Dr Afridi away with them amid tight security.

Shakil Afridi has been languishing in a prison in the city of Peshawar for almost seven years after his fake vaccination programme helped US agents track and kill the Al-Qaeda leader.

Jamil Afridi, the doctor's brother, confirmed that he had been informed by government officials that "Shakil has been moved to a safer place".