Bin Laden’s doctor on hunger strike

ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani doctor jailed for his role in the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden is on hunger strike, sources including a relative told the BBC.

Shakil Afridi.

Shakil Afridi reportedly began a strike to protest against conditions in jail, where he is in solitary confinement.

A senior prison official said he had no knowledge of any hunger strike, adding that he was being properly treated.

He was jailed for supporting a militant group, but it is widely believed he is being punished for helping the US.

Correspondents say it is generally acknowledged that the 33-year sentence he received in May for funding and supporting a banned militant group was in retaliation for helping the US Central Intelligence Agency in its hunt for the al-Qaeda leader.

He is alleged to have used a fake vaccination campaign to try to get DNA samples from the Bin Laden family, but Dr Afridi has been quoted as saying that he was unaware of his role in Bin Laden’s death.

He began his hunger strike in Peshawar Central Jail earlier this week, according to his brother Jamil, who says he was told by a source in the prison.

He says Afridi has been ill-treated ever since giving a phone interview to US network Fox News from his prison cell in September, and has not been allowed to see relatives.

Afridi told Fox he had not realised that the CIA was targeting Bin Laden: “I didn’t know about a specific target apart from the work I was given to do.

“I was aware that some terrorists were residing in that compound, but I didn’t know who. I was shocked. I didn’t believe I was associated with his killing,” he said. (BBC)

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