A Pakistani tribunal on Saturday upheld the conviction of Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA track down al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, but reduced his 33 years sentence by 10 years.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Tribunal had sentenced Afridi to 33 years in jail and also levied a Rs 3,20,000 fine in 2012. The term was challenged by Afridi's lawyers and a decision to this effect was reserved on February 15 this year by the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) Commissioner.
In Saturday's verdict, the FCR Commissioner upheld the old judgement but reduced his sentence by 10 years. Afridi's lawyer Sami Ullah said the decision was unexpected and they would appeal against it in the Fata tribunal. The doctor, who was arrested immediately after the May 2, 2011 operation by US commandos that killed bin Laden, was convicted for treason over alleged ties to banned militant group Lashkar-e-Islam.
Bin Laden was killed in the unilateral US commando raid in Abbottabad, sending bilateral relations into a tailspin and embarrassing Pakistan's powerful military.
Afridi is currently being held at the central prison in Peshawar. It is said that Afridi ran a fake vaccination camp to gain access to bin Laden's family but legal experts and rights activists have challenged his sentence. The US has also been pressing Pakistan to release Afridi.