Lawyer Representing Doctor Accused Of Aiding The US To Find Bin Laden Quits Case After Receiving Death Threats

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of PakistanIn an interview with the BBC, Lawyer Samiullah Afridi said his defense of Dr. Shakil Afridi Would end due to continual death threats against him over the last two years. Samiulla, who is not related to his client, had at one point left the country out of fear for his safety.

We previously discussed the worsening situation for lawyers in Pakistan defending those accused of infamous crimes and civil rights issues in the Murder of Attorney Rashid Rehman.

The controversy regarding Dr. Afridi began after United States special forces operators raided the compound of Usama Bin Laden in 2011. The doctor was arrested by officials in Pakistan for allegedly supporting militant groups and was given a thirty three year prison sentence by a tribal court in 2012. A court in Peshawar reduced his sentence to ten years however he faces additional charges alleging he colluded with the CIA. Dr Afridi is accused of using the cover of a door-to-door vaccination campaign to help the US find Bin Laden.

The conviction was widely seen by many as actually punishment for allegedly aiding in Bin Laden’s demise, a charge Dr. Afridi denies.

Samiulla said he was offered a reprieve for his defence of the doctor where militants offered him the chance to go out “the right way” by leaving the case and abandoning his client. He lamented “I took the case on humanitarian grounds, but now I have to look for my own life, it is more important.”

Samiulla is one of four lawyers representing the doctor, said he had “no option” but to quit the case. He added that US pressure to release Dr Afridi was complicating the case.

By Darren Smith

Source: BBC News

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

14 thoughts on “Lawyer Representing Doctor Accused Of Aiding The US To Find Bin Laden Quits Case After Receiving Death Threats”

  1. Paul, I could’ve never guessed you’d come up with a link to Fox Spews; snark. The article just confirms what I mentioned earlier and that is that many Pakistani people consider the doctor a traitor and don’t want to see his sentence reduced. It is a tragedy but it is one that plays out all over the world, especially in times of war and conflict. Having grown up in Belgium to grandparents who suffered at the hands of the Germs, I learned from an early age one never, ever works for an invading force. I don’t blame the US directly for the plight of the doctor; he wasn’t forced to do what he did and I believe he profited from doing so. Right next door in Afghanistan many interpreters and others working for the US and its allies have suffered heavily at the hands of not only the Taleban but others who don’t support them. One of the young men who was an interpreter for me during a teacher training was killed a few years later for his work with the Americans. When the Taleban finds out the name and place a collaborator lives, they go in hot pursuit, harassing and threatening the people and the families of those collaborators. The Afghan people are sick and tired of that after so many years and not too long ago someone recorded a protest by one such village telling interpreters to get out. Human rights organizations and others are inundated by frantic calls, letters and emails begging for support as they try to leave Afghanistan by the thousands to escape retaliations. From a human rights point of view I do what I can to defend their right to live free from threats to their lives. I have contributed to quite a few successful asylum cases both here in the US and in the UK. From a very personal point of view I continue to have very mixed feelings about the fate which awaited the doctor in this story.

    1. Els DL – if the Obama administration could have kept its mouth shut the doctor probably would have gotten away. This is not the first time the Obama administration has let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. They slow walk memos and emails to any Congressional committee but this guy they give up right away.

  2. the biggest problem with this whole case is the real osama DIED IN 2003 so what they are threatening the lawyer for helping a man find one of many osama look a likes.. all anyone has to do is watch the videos put out after 9/11 to see the difference. the man goes from skinny with a raspy voice to thick with a heavy voice and different dialect. from from medium height to over 6ft. etc.. when are the people going to stop listening to the lies told them by the corporation.. THE TRUTH IS OUT HERE. right in their faces they just refuse to acknowledge or accept that history and their lives are nothing but lies

  3. I’m unable to find fault with this lawyer’s decision. On a rational level the doctor will lose a strong defender toward a more just sentence. On a more emotional level, I admit to being torn about justice in this case. I assume that the doctor received money for his involvement in the hunt for OBL. Many Pakistani people consider the US the ‘enemy’ and cooperation with the enemy is more than frowned upon. The doctor knew this and took a big risk. It backfired on him but it also backfired on innocent people in Pakistan, including many children who, as a result of his collaboration with the US, are not being inoculated against some devastating diseases like polio. The CIA is not exactly known for caring too much about those non-American collaborators when the sh-t hits the fan.

  4. Why should this surprise anyone. This happens everywhere. You cant arrest everyone and the defenders should know this going into the arrangement.

  5. I understand this man’s decision. I would probably have made the same one. But, there are courageous attorneys who would have stayed on and represented this doctor. There aren’t many Atticus Finch’s out there. VERY few in the US. But, they are out there.

  6. Excellent article and well written. We should not have troops East of Corfu. It is a waste of American lives and money.

    1. Al – if we took your advice, that area would become a hiding place for everyone we were looking for.

  7. This sort of insanity seems to be on the rise. Several defense attorneys have been verbally attacked & threatened in the US for having the temerity to represent unpopular defendants. Heaven forfend you run for public office after performing such an unspeakable act as to try to offer competent council to someone the public wants lynched.

    1. Frankly – it is easier to run for office as a former prosecutor who is tough on crime, then as a former defender, who was getting potential criminal off.

  8. I would hope that the US starts withholding funds because of this. Somebody’s Swiss bank account should suffer.

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