PESHAWAR – A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama Bin Laden has been charged with murder over a 2006 surgery he performed, his lawyer said Friday, raising new doubts whether the physician will regain his freedom.
Shakil Afridi already is being held in prison pending retrial on a separate charge, despite US officials demanding he be released. The case has caused friction between Pakistan and the US, complicating a relationship that Washington views as vital for fighting the Taleban and Al-Qaeda, as well as negotiating an end to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
The murder charge stems from a complaint over a teenage boy who died after Afridi performed surgery on him for appendicitis in 2006.
The complaint, filed by the deceased teenage boy’s mother, Nasib Gula, says Afridi was not authorized to operate on her son because he was a physician, not a surgeon, said the doctor’s lawyer, Samiullah Afridi. The boy died from complications following the surgery, which took place in Pakistan’s remote Khyber tribal area, the lawyer said.
The lawyer, who is not related to his client, said the case had no merit because too much time had passed since the incident. The trial has been scheduled for mid-December, he said.
The doctor is currently being held in prison. He was convicted of “conspiring against the state” in May 2012 and sentenced to 33 years in prison.
His conviction was related to allegations that he gave money and provided medical treatment to militants in Khyber, not for helping the CIA track down Bin Laden. The doctor’s family and the militants denied the allegations. Arab News