Pakistani Dr. Shakll Afridi had been sentenced to 33 years in prison on treason charges in the nation, following nearly a year in custody of the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate. The charges were carried out under the old colonial Frontier Crimes Regulation, and no judge was ever involved.
Dr. Afridi’s sentence stems from his role in the CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden. In particular, Afridi ran a phony CIA vaccination program in Pakistan, collecting the DNA of children in the hopes of finding bin Laden through his relatives.
Though the scheme apparently worked, it has come at a terrible price, making real vaccination programs in the country suspect and convincing much of the rural public to avoid the programs for fear that they too are CIA schemes.
US officials, naturally, are outraged at the decision. Sen. Carl Levin (D – MI) has declared that the doctor’s role in pretending to vaccinate children “the opposite of treason.” A number of US congressmen are demanding an immediate pardon for him, citing his “patriotism,” while Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA) said this was proof that Pakistan is actually at war with the US.
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