New Delhi: Dr Shakeel Afridi, the man who helped US’ Central Investigation Agency (CIA) track down Osama bin Laden leading to an operation that killed the Al-Qaeda chief, has launched a hunger strike from his prison cell, his lawyer and family have said. Also Read - Osama Bin Laden's Son Hamza Dead, US Expected to Make Announcement
Dr Afridi, a Pakistani national, was arrested days after the raid while trying to flee Pakistan and was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment in May 2012. However, in August 2013, his sentence was overturned and a retrial ordered after his lawyers appealed against the initial judgement, in June 2012. His sentence was later reduced by 10 years. Also Read - Former CIA Director Gen David Petraeus Says Pakistan Did Not Know About Osama bin Laden's Hideout
It was Dr Afridi’s fake vaccination programme that helped the CIA track down bin Laden in the city of Abbottabad, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Also Read - Pakistan Knew About Osama bin Laden's Presence on Its Soil, Says Imran Khan
“He is observing the hunger strike to protest against the injustices and inhuman attitudes against him and his family,” speaking to media, his brother Jamil Afridi said. His lawyer Qamar Nadeem, too, confirmed that Dr Afridi was observing a hunger strike.
Over the years, his family has frequently alleged being targeted and harassed by the Pakistani authorities. Several US lawmakers, too, have branded his imprisonment as a ‘revenge’ for helping the CIA track down bin Laden.
US President Donald Trump, during his election campaign, had promised to free Dr Afridi from Pakistan if elected to office, bus been silent on the issue since being elected.
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind several terrorist attacks against US assets, including the 9/11 attacks in New York, was killed in an operation by the US Navy Seals on May 1, 2011. He was found to be living close to the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul.