30 Aug 2013

Retrial ordered in case of doctor who helped CIA

5:49 am on 30 August 2013

Officials in Pakistan have overturned a prison sentence and ordered a retrial of a doctor who helped the CIA in the search for Osama Bin Laden.

Shakil Afridi was charged with treason and tried under the tribal justice system for running a fake vaccination programme to gather information.

He was sentenced to prison for 33 years in May 2012 and is being held at Peshawar Central Jail.

Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Abbottabad in May 2011. The BBC reports the raid created a crisis in relations between the United States and Pakistan.

Although Dr Afridi's conviction has been overturned, his retrial will be heard under tribal jurisdiction in a closed court.

Qamar Nadeem Afridi, a cousin of Dr Afridi, told the BBC that the "true facts" would now come out.

The sentence was quashed and a retrial ordered because the previous judge exceeded his authority in handing down the sentence.

The BBC reports the previous trial was heard by an official with the status equivalent to a magistrate.

An order issued by a commission said the new trial must be heard by a more senior official, the political agent of Khyber tribal agency, who has the status of a judge.

But a BBC correspondent in Islamabad said there is no guarantee that a similar verdict will not be reached.