Lawyer for Pakistan doctor who helped US find Bin Laden quits

[JURIST] The lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who helped the US find Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archive] said on Sunday that he would no longer represent him after receiving threats from militants. Lawyer Samiullah Khan Afridi told the Associated Press (AP) that he made the decision [AP report] after he received a "final" warning from militants. Afridi had been representing Dr. Shakil Afridi on humanitarian grounds but said that it is not possible for him to continue. "Now they have warned me to either quit the case or be ready to face the dire consequences," Afridi told the AP. "My family and I are under severe threat."Afridi also said that the pressure put on Pakistan by the US for his client's release also hurt him. Afridi was initially sentenced to 33 years in prison [JURIST report] in 2012 after being convicted of providing money and medical treatment to Islamic militants in the Khyber tribal region. A Pakistani court later reduced Afridi's sentence 23 years on appeal. His family and the militants have denied the allegations. Afridi and his lawyers have also denied helping the CIA, although US lawmakers have confirmed his role in the hunt for bin Laden. The US has exerted diplomatic pressure for his release.

Concerns about the nature of bin Laden's death and his subsequent burial at sea have arisen since the announcement of his death [JURIST report] in May 2011, while US officials have maintained that their actions were lawful. US State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh defended the killing [JURIST report] saying it was "consistent with the laws of armed conflict and US military doctrine." Days after the killing, human rights experts from the UN called on the US to disclose further details [JURIST report] of the killing, in order "to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards." UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay insisted [JURIST report] on "a full disclosure of the accurate facts" surrounding the killing of Bin Laden after the White House altered the official account of the killing from its original announcement. US Attorney General Eric Holder told the US Senate Judiciary Committee that the killing of bin Laden was lawful and justified [JURIST report], testifying that the shooting of bin Laden was "consistent with our values," and that the soldiers who killed him "conducted themselves totally appropriately."

 

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