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The Pakistani doctor who aided American intelligence in its mission to kill Osama bin Laden has been convicted of high treason in his home country and sentenced to 33 years in prison plus a fine, Pakistani officials said today.
Shakil Afridi ran a vaccination program on behalf of the CIA near the al Qaeda leader's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in an attempt to collect DNA from bin Laden's relatives and verify that America's most wanted terrorist was indeed in the compound. On May 2, 2011, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs raided the compound and killed bin Laden.
Afridi's role, first reported by the New York Times in July 2011, was publicly confirmed by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in January when he told CBS News' "60 Minutes" he was "very concerned" for Afridi.
"This was an individual who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation," Panetta, who was head of the CIA at the time of the operation, said then. "He was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan, he was not doing anything that would in any way undermine Pakistan... Pakistan and the United States have a common cause against terrorism."
Shakil Afridi ran a vaccination program on behalf of the CIA
"It's good. He should be publicly hanged," the nurse said. "We do not consider him a hero. He is a traitor, a liar and a fraud. He deceived everyone." -nurse who worked with Afridi
Afridi was not entitled to a lawyer but was given a chance to defend himself and has a right to appeal the verdict, officials said.
The US government said Pakistan had no basis to hold Afridi, who is reportedly in poor health and being kept away from other prisoners to avoid any danger to his life.