Shakil Afridi`s lawyers seeks his retrial be conducted in jail
Islamabad: Lawyers of a Pakistani doctor, who allegedly helped the US track down Osama bin Laden, have sought his retrial to be conducted at the Central Prison in Peshawar city, citing security threats.
The lawyers of Dr Shakil Afridi have filed an application in the court of the political agent of Khyber Agency, who is set to hear the trial against him.
"I have submitted an application and requested him to conduct the trial at the Central Prison Peshawar," Samiullah Afridi, the doctor`s lawyer, told a news agency over phone.
Asked why he had filed the application, he said, "We are worried about his security. Even the route leading to the political agent`s office from the Central Prison Peshawar is unsafe".
The lawyer is hopeful that the retrial will begin within a month`s time.
His request came just days after media reported here that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had asked Pakistan`s federal authorities to shift the doctor to a safer place.
The provincial government wrote a letter to the federal authorities last week stressing the need to finalise a strategy to take custody of the doctor who had helped the US agencies in pinpointing bin Laden`s whereabouts in the garrison city of Abbottabad.
It said intelligence agencies had repeatedly cautioned the provincial government against the possibility of an attack on Afridi, whose 33-year sentence was recently set aside by a Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) commissioner.
The doctor was sentenced to 33 years in jail on May 24, 2012 for allegations of aiding banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Islam (LI).
He was also accused of launching a fake vaccination campaign on behalf of the CIA in Abbottabad as a part of the bin Laden hunt.
A tribal court of the Khyber Agency had sentenced Afridi, who is currently being held at the central prison in Peshawar, and soon after the verdict legal experts and human rights activists challenged the administration’s decision.
The US has been pressing Pakistan for the release of Afridi and the matter is said to have been raised during the recent visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
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