Published May 17, 2013
The jailed doctor who helped the U.S. track down Usama bin Laden was convicted by a tribal court on bogus charges, according to a classified Pakistani government report.
Portions of the voluminous 357-page Abbottobad Commission Report, which has yet to be made public and were obtained exclusively by Fox News, acknowledge Dr. Shakil Afridi’s conviction last year by a government-sponsored Jirga has undermined Pakistan’s credibility. The report calls for Afridi to be given a new trial.
The report also claims Afridi joined the CIA search for Bin Laden five years ago, while he was staying in the U.S. with a cousin. According to the report, Afridi applied for asylum after a terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Islam, stepped up its operations in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt.
Afridi was reportedly kidnapped by the group in 2008 and released after his family paid a $10,000 ransom. After helping the CIA pinpoint the terror mastermind just prior to the 2011 raid in which Navy SEALs killed Bin laden, Afridi was arrested and convicted by the tribal court of colluding with Lashkar-e-Islam.
The State Department declined to comment on the report's claims that Afridi had applied for asylum while staying in the U.S.
The commission report acknowledges Afridi was subjected to harsh treatment in prison, and moved several times to various undisclosed locations by Pakistan’s spy agency. His Pakistani handlers also note his incarceration for a year without judicial process was unfair, according to the report.
In a telephone interview with Fox News last year, Afridi recounted his ordeal in prison.
“My clothes were removed and I was forced by a major to wear old dirty torn rags of an army conductor," Afridi said. "It was difficult to eat food. I had to bend down on my knees to eat with only my mouth, like a dog. I sat on the floor.”
Afridi said he was blindfolded for eight months, and handcuffed with his hands behind his back for a year.
Afridi, who helped confirm the Al Qaeda leader’s presence in an Abbottabad compound, lived for a short period in San Francisco in 2009, according to the report.
“He came to meet my brother and mother, who was not well at that time,” Afridi’s first cousin, a Californian resident and student based in Los Angeles, told FoxNews.com.
It was around that time that Afridi first agreed to work for the CIA, the report said. The deal helped lead to Bin Laden’s death in 2011, and netted Afridi a mere $13,000, according to his statement documented in the report.
Afridi is currently serving a 33-year jail term, and is appealing his conviction. The U.S. has called for Afridi's release, but his supporters say the Obama administration has not done enough to press for his freedom.
“Dr. Afridi is showing us, in a courageous way, that quiet diplomacy isn’t working,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Afridi’s most vocal supporter in Congress.
Afridi’s cousin in California told FoxNews.com the family feels helpless monitoring his case from afar.
“He is my cousin and I love him but I don’t know what I can do to help."