8 Oct 2011

Pakistani doctor accused of treason

6:18 am on 8 October 2011

A government commission in Pakistan, investigating the American raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, says a doctor accused of helping the CIA should be tried for treason.

Doctor Shakil Afridi is accused of running a fake vaccination programme in the city of Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden was killed in May.

It is alleged the doctor was recruited by the CIA to obtain DNA samples so the Americans could confirm the presence of the al-Qaeda leader.

He was arrested shortly after US raid that killed the al-Qaeda chief.

The government commission, headed by a former Supreme Court judge, has been charged with discovering how the US military was able to carry out the raid deep within Pakistan without being detected.

It is also investigating how Osama bin Laden was able to hide in Abbottabad, a garrison town, for several years.

It has been interviewing Pakistani intelligence officials and has also spoken to bin Laden family members.

After questioning Dr Afridi, the commission said that in view of the record and evidence it was "of the view that prima facie, a case of conspiracy against the State of Pakistan and high treason" should be launched against him.

The BBC reports that Washington has been arguing Dr Afriki should be freed and allowed to live in the US.

Pakistan was deeply embarrassed by the raid and has described the covert US special forces operation as a violation of its sovereignty.