Doctor may face treason charge

Oct. 7, 2011 at 12:29 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A Pakistani doctor accused of aiding the CIA should be charged with treason, a Pakistani commission investigating the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden said.

Shakil Afridi, is accused of running a vaccine clinic to help the CIA locate the al-Qaida leader. Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs during a raid of his compound in Abbottabad, near Islamabad.

Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, has been holding Afridi since the May raid and the doctor has not had access to a lawyer, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported.

The report said Pakistani intelligence authorities want Afridi to face the law at home instead of handing him over to the United States, which seeks his custody.

"A case of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason is made" against the doctor, the Pakistani information ministry said, citing the commission's investigation, CNN reported.

Afridi is accused of helping the CIA collect DNA samples of those living in the bin Laden compound.

"This was one very small piece of a very large intelligence effort to determine that bin Laden was located at the compound," a senior U.S. official had earlier told CNN.

The commission extensively interviewed the head of the ISI before issuing its finding, the Guardian reported. It lifted restrictions on bin Laden's wives and children, held in custody since the raid, the report said, adding that could lead to their being sent back to Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

U.S. relations with Pakistan have worsened, with questions raised as to how Pakistani authorities could not have known about the fugitive living in a sprawling compound in their midst. The Pakistani spy agency has recently been linked to the Haqqani Network, seen as using safe havens in Pakistan to attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan has denied the charge.

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