Afridi’s brother calls for appeal against verdict

US officials have strongly criticised Shakil Afridi`s conviction and have cut USD 33 million in aid to Pakistan in response to the jail term.

London: The brother of Pakistan doctor, Shakil Afridi, who was recently sentenced to 33 years in prison for helping US intelligence track down Osama bin Laden, has called for an appeal of the verdict.

"All allegations against him are false. He didn`t do anything against the national interest," the BBC quoted Jamil Afridi, as saying.

Jamil and two lawyers representing his brother said the tribal court`s verdict, which was handed down last week and whose proceedings were never made public, was a "one-sided decision", the report said.

Jamil also said although his brother had a US visa, he did not try to flee Pakistan after the bin Laden raid for 20 days.

"Had he been guilty, he would have escaped," he said.

Dr Afridi was convicted of treason because he ran a fake vaccination programme. Samples he took enabled the Central Intelligence Agency confirm that the al Qaeda leader was living in a compound in Abbottabad, which eventually led to the US raid in which Osama was killed on May 02, 2011.

US officials have strongly criticised Dr Afridi`s conviction and have cut USD 33 million in aid to Pakistan in response to the jail term.

Dr Afridi was tried for treason under a tribal justice system and was prosecuted under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), the set of laws that govern Pakistan`s semi-autonomous tribal region.

The FCR do not allow suspects the right to legal representation, to present material evidence or cross-examine witnesses. Verdicts are usually delivered by a government official in consultation with a council of elders, rather than by a judge.

In addition, Dr Afridi`s lawyers complained that the authorities had not given them documents related to the case, including a copy of the verdict.


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