Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor, helped the United States find Osama bin Laden in 2011.He was later arrested by Pakistani authorities and has been in prison waiting for a trial ever since.
The U.S. supports Afridi’s release.However, the debate over his future is an example of the complicated relations between the two countries.
Afridi has not seen his lawyer since 2012.His wife and children are his only visitors.For two years his file “disappeared” delaying his court appeal.The courts now say a prosecutor is unavailable, his lawyer, Qamar Nadeem Afridi, told The Associated Press.
阿夫里迪自从2012年开始就没有见过自己的律师。他的妻儿是唯一探访过他的人。两年间，他一度“凭空不见”的档案也推迟了上诉的进程。如今，法院称已经不能起诉了，阿夫里迪的律师卡马尔 纳迪姆 阿弗里迪在接受美联社采访时这样转述道。
“Everyone is afraid to even talk about him, to mention his name,” said Nadeem, who is also Afridi’s cousin.
Nadeem said lawyers working with Afridi have been threatened with violence.Nadeem’s law office has bullet holes from a shooting incident several years ago.One of Afridi’s lawyers was murdered outside his Peshawar home.Also, a jail administrator who supported Afridi was shot and killed.
Afridi used a fake hepatitis vaccination program to try to get DNA samples from bin Laden’s family.However, he has now been charged with helping the U.S. to find bin Laden.
Nadeem said Afridi was accused under tribal law for helping militants in the nearby Khyber tribal region.In a tribal court, the law allows them to be closed to the public, does not require the defendant to be present in court, and limits the number of appeals, he said.
If Afridi were charged with treason, he would have the right to public hearings and appeals, even up to the Supreme Court.This would allow details of the bin Laden operation to be discussed publicly, something both the government and military do not want.
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump said he would free Afridi.In an interview with Fox News in April 2016,he said he would get him out of prison in “two minutes. ... Because we give a lot of aid to Pakistan.”
In a tweet after New Year’s Day, U.S. President Donald Trump said that Pakistan took $33 billion in aid and gave only “deceit and lies” in return.He also accused Pakistan of protecting Afghan militants who attack American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Pakistan accused the U.S. of blaming them for its failure to bring peace to Afghanistan.
Shortly after, the U.S. suspended almost $2 billion in military aid to Pakistan.
The Wilson Center’s Michael Kugelman said Pakistan and the U.S. should recognize their disagreements.And the countries should find areas where they can cooperate like fighting the Islamic State and al-Qaida terror groups.Both countries see them as threats.
For now, Afridi spends his days alone in a prison filled with militants who want to kill him for his role in locating bin Laden.Still, Nadeem said Pakistani authorities are treating Afridi well and he is in good health.
U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells recently met with Pakistani authorities.There is no information whether Afridi’s case was discussed in the meeting.
In a statement, the U.S. State Department told the Associated Press that Afridi has not been forgotten.“We believe Dr. Afridi has been unjustly imprisoned and have clearly communicated our position to Pakistan on Dr. Afridi’s case,both in public and in private,” it said.
I’m Phil Dierking.