A three-member tribunal in Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal areas on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, claiming a retrial order was “ambiguous and self contradictory.”
Dr. Shakeel Afridi was convicted of treason last year over his alleged ties to the militant Lashkar-e-Islam group and sentenced to 33-years imprisonment and fined Rs. 320,000. In August, then-Peshawar Commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anees overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial on an appeal filed by Afridi’s brother.
In its five-page judgment, which sent the case back to the commissioner’s office and a copy of which is available with Newsweek, the FATA tribunal ruled: “This case should go back to the Commissioner [of] Peshawar with the direction to write a detailed speaking and well-reasoned order as required by Section 53 of the [Frontier Crimes Regulations].” Tribunal chairman Shah Wali Khan told reporters after issuing the order: “The tribunal has asked [the commissioner] to remove ambiguities from his order and make a clear decision and send it back to us.”
Jamil Afridi, Dr. Afridi’s brother, condemned the tribunal’s move. “We don’t expect any justice from these courts,” he told Newsweek. “These courts have no power and they just announce prewritten judgments.” He also claimed that the ruling was part of a conspiracy to keep his brother detained. “Now that the government has understood that the case is slipping from their hands, they have trapped Dr. Afridi in a fake murder case,” he added, referring to last month’s fresh charges against Dr. Afridi over the death of a patient some six years ago.
“A final decision was supposed to be announced by the FATA tribunal but they have chosen to send the case back to the Peshawar commissioner,” said Qamar Nadeem Afridi, one of the lawyers for Dr. Afridi. “It clearly shows the tribunal can’t hold the weight of this [case].”