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Shakil Afridi's sentence overturned; retrial ordered

30 August, 2013

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PESHAWAR: The 33-year jail sentence of Shakil Afridi, the tribal doctor who allegedly helped the CIA track down al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was overturned on Thursday after the appeal against his conviction was upheld.

Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) Commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anees, who acted as judicial official in the case, ruled that the previous judge in the case exceeded his authority while handing down the sentence.

Anees set aside the previous decision made by Assistant Political Agent Nasir Khan in the semi-autonomous Khyber tribal region, and ordered that retrial of Dr Shakil be held by the political agent as sessions judge.

Dr Shakil was picked soon after the US raid on Osama's compound in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, because of his alleged role in helping the CIA track down the al Qaeda leader. He ran a fake vaccination drive to confirm the al Qaeda leader's presence inside the compound.

"The commissioner has set aside the decision of the assistant political agent of Khyber agency and ordered retrial of Dr Shakil," the order read, according to defence counsel. "The case has been sent back to the political agent of Khyber."

The order said, "The assistant political agent played the role of a magistrate for which he was not authorised."

Dr Shakil's release on bail has been blocked until his retrial is completed, according to the bail.

The 'CIA helper' was sentenced on May 23, 2012, to 33 years imprisonment and fined Rs 320,000 on charges of colluding with the banned militant outfit Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) and its chief Mangal Bagh.

End.

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