Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who provided crucial evidence that helped U.S. intelligence agents zero in on Osama bin Laden, has been charged with murder in a case stemming from a patient’s death several years ago. Afridi has faced a thicket of legal troubles since 2011, when he took DNA samples that helped prove Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad, where the al-Qaida leader was killed in a U.S. assault.
The new charges are tied to the death of a teenage boy Afridi operated on. The doctor’s attorney says the case isn’t valid because too much time elapsed between the surgery and the accusation. Various news agencies in and outside of Pakistan have reported the operation taking place in 2005, 2006, or 2007.
The AP has these details:
“The complaint, filed by the deceased teenage boy’s mother, Nasib Gula, says Afridi was not authorized to operate on her son because he was a physician, not a surgeon, said the doctor’s lawyer, Samiullah Afridi [no relation]. The boy died from complications following the surgery, which took place in Pakistan’s remote Khyber tribal area, the lawyer said.”
The case opens a new front in the troubles that have found Afridi since he gathered blood samples in Abbottabad under the guise of an immunization program.
In reality, the samples were used to conduct DNA analysis that cemented a familial relationship between people in the town and bin Laden. The U.S. assault on the compound, and the doctor’s role in it, infuriated and embarrassed Pakistani officials.
Last year, Afridi was convicted of “conspiring against the state” and sentenced to 33 years in prison — a punishment that was tossed out this past summer. U.S. officials have followed his case, with Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly urging his release earlier this year. Afridi remains incarcerated while awaiting an appeal on those charges.