Lawyer Tied to bin Laden Raid Flees Pakistan

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 12:09 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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The lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who played a pivotal role in helping the U.S. track and kill Osama bin Laden has fled to Dubai, Pakistan's Express Tribune reports.

A relative of Samiullah Afridi said terrorists threatened to blow up the lawyer's car and kill his family.

"We cannot disclose the country he left for due to security threats to his life," the relative said, asking for anonymity, according to The New York Post.

"Militants warned him to stop pleading the case, or else he and his family would face the consequences."

Afridi is one of three attorneys representing Dr. Shakil Afridi — the two are not related — a surgeon who helped the CIA carry out a phony hepatitis vaccine campaign that allowed Dr. Afridi to collect the DNA of bin Laden's children from the family compound in Abbottabad.

The Pakistani government arrested Dr. Afridi as he tried to cross the border days after the May 2011 raid. He was purportedly taken into custody for his involvement, though it was later stated that it was for alleged ties to Islamist terror group Lashkar-e-Islam, something Dr. Afridi denies.

He was serving a 33-year sentence that in August was overturned for procedural errors. While awaiting a retrial, Dr. Afridi was charged with murder related to the death of a patient eight years ago.

His lawyers recently received a hand-written letter smuggled from Dr. Afridi's prison cell — their first contact with him in 15 months — saying he was being denied his right to a fair trial, the BBC reports.

Qamar Nadeem, who also represents Dr. Afridi, told the BBC that Samiullah Afridi left Pakistan on Wednesday.

"I had met him a day earlier but he did not indicate he had any plans to leave the country. I have now been told he is gone," Nadeem said. "I didn't ask and he never told me who was threatening him, or what was the nature of those threats."

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