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5 years on, doctor who helped CIA track bin Laden languishes in Pak jail

Pakistani-doctor-Shaki- Afridi

Peshawar: Five years after his fake vaccination programme helped the CIA track and kill Osama bin Laden, Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi languishes in jail, abandoned by the US, say supporters, in its bid to smooth troubled relations with Islamabad.

Afridi, believed to be in his mid-50s, has no access to a lawyer, and his appeal against a 23-year prison sentence has stalled.

“I have no hope of meeting him, no expectation for justice,” his elder brother Jamil told AFP.

The former senior surgeon lives in solitary confinement in a small room, according to his lawyer, able to see his immediate family no more than six times a year.

Afridi`s role in one of the most famous assassinations of recent decades is murky.

Details of how he was sought out by the Central Intelligence Agency are unclear — Pakistani reports suggest officials at Save the Children acted as go-betweens, though the charity denies involvement.

What is known is that Afridi`s job was to run a fake Hepatitis C vaccination program with the aim of obtaining genetic samples from Abbottabad, a garrison city and home to the Pakistan Military Academy, the country`s answer to Westpoint.

It was there that Al-Qaeda chief bin Laden and his family had set up home in the mid-2000s, under the noses — and some say protection — of senior Pakistani military officers.In the darkness of May 2, 2011, two helicopters full of elite Navy Seals touched down inside the compound.

AFP

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