Doctor Who Helped U.S. Find bin Laden Speaks Out From Prison

Saturday, 07 Dec 2013 04:46 PM

By Andrea Billups

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The doctor who led U.S. forces to their capture of Osama bin Laden is speaking out, saying  he is being denied justice and refused access to his lawyers and information about the progress of his case in Pakistan.

Shakil Afridi says he had to smuggle a hand-written letter out to his attorneys from prison, where he continues to work to make the world aware of his conditions, the BBC reported.

"I am the first individual in Pakistan to have been denied permission to meet my lawyers, which is my basic legal right," he wrote this week from his prison cell, noting this marks the first time he's had contact with his lawyers in 15 months. "What kind of a court, what kind of justice is this?"

His lawyers explained the difficulty in mounting a defense for the imprisoned doctor, noting much of the legal proceedings in his murder case are from a closed tribal process and are not in writing.

"We are strategizing our defense by just anticipating what our client may want. We have no permission to consult him on specific issues," one of his two lawyers, Qamar Nadeem, told the BBC.

Afridi remains jailed on what has been described as a "bizarre" murder charge, the UK's Daily Mail reported, with a purported trial date set in December.

Afridi was jailed after a teenage patient he operated on for appendicitis in 2005 died.

"A woman blamed Afridi for the death of her son," an official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. "She stated that he operated on her son at a hospital in Khyber Agency even though he was not a surgeon, and that caused (her son's) death."

Afridi, who helped the CIA track the mastermind terrorist, has received little help from the U.S. after his crucial role in locating Bin Laden. He last communicated with the outside world in September 2012, calling Fox News on a cell phone that had been smuggled into his cell.

Afridi's profile has been raised by news coverage, while the U.S government, which has praised his efforts, appears to have done little to assist him.

"This was an individual who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation," former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told GQ magazine.

"He was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan. He was not in any way doing anything that would have undermined Pakistan."

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