Shakeel Afridi, a Pakistani doctor has been jailed for the part he played in the capture and ultimate killing of Osama Bin Laden. Whilst some in the West may praise the help this man gave to the US Intelligence services, Pakistan holds a different view.
May 23, 2012, Dr Afridi was jailed for 33 years for treason and also fined $3,500 for spying for the United States. US officials will no doubt consider his sacrifice worth it, for finally enabling them to apprehend Bin Laden. It is doubtful that Afridi and his family will see things in quite the same way.
Usually witness protection schemes look after the interests of people who help the authorities in such a way. As Afridi was a foreign national it could have been a different matter altogether.
Dr Afridi was tried under tribal law which did not allow him to offer his own defence. The trial has been ongoing for two months. This would seem to indicate that in many ways Afridi was given a fair trial but the outcome may have been a forgone conclusion.
According to CNN, "Afridi helped the CIA use a vaccination campaign in an attempt to collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden's compound in the city of Abbottabad to verify the al Qaeda leader's presence there."Opinion:
This case raises mixed feelings. Bin Laden captured was the aim and achieved. He however died an innocent man, having never been tried for his crimes. You can say what you will but without a trial guilt has not been proven. It harps back to "hang 'em high days" before the rule of law.
Then you have to consider the way that the US entered Pakistan and if the boot was on the other foot. Whilst this blogger may seem preoccupied with talk of setting bad precedents it must be acknowledged. Breaking all the rules when it suits sooner or later tends to backfire on you.
What of Doctor confidentiality which we treasure so much in the West?
Pakistan has a justice system and many now believe that should a legal challenge be raised against the tribal court's ruling it will be overturned. The case appears to be far from over yet as a separate Federal case is ongoing.
If the sentence stands it is hard to believe that other foreign nationals will ever help the US again. After all it sends a stark message to those tempted.
Instigating treason, as you feel the ends justify the means, smacks of downright hypocrisy. US soldier Bradley Manning is still facing an uncertain future after charges of US treason were levied against him. His crime? He dared to let the World see what was really going on in US conflicts. For that we should be eternally grateful.
In the case of Afridi the US encouraged him to enable a foreign mission on his own territory. Does it compare at all? We think not.Bradley Manning here
One year ago today, Osama Bin Laden was captured and unceremoniously killed. His death brought closure for some, especially the loved ones of the people killed in the 9/11 bombings.It is hard to think that some will have mourned Osama but of course they will. His loved ones and no doubt his followers.
The West still has large numbers of military personnel fighting in Afghanistan because of 9/11. The civilians of that country have had more than 10 years of occupation. Whilst we in the west are good at choosing to forget the man, woman and child on the streets of Afghanistan you just have to ask yourself one question. If the UK or the US had Afghan troops stationed on our streets, trying to impose their laws upon us, how would we react? Add to this rogue incidents such as US troops urinating on dead Taliban, careless handing of the Koran and 17 civilians being killed by supposedly one US solider and it not hard to guess how the people feel. Excuses just do not wash any more.
The way that Bin Laden was captured, killed and disposed of though has led the way to many conspiracy theories. Is he really dead? Did the US kill him this way to shut him up? And on it goes. Many people still believe that in some way the US authorities were involved or complicit in 9/11, and those believers will not be easily convinced otherwise.
After the death of Bin Laden this blogger tried to write some of her thoughts on his death and how it made her feel. This is what she wrote on Hubpages,
within a few weeks of his death:
"The media has been full of questions and articles about Bin Laden and his death. It seems that having wanted Bin Laden dead for such a long time many such people cannot believe the news.
Conspiracy theories abound and will probably do so for many years to come. How do I feel about Bin Laden's death? Well I am not really sure. Having seen the question though I thought I would try to understand and acknowledge my feelings on the matter, so here goes.
On that fateful day, 9/11, my husband was ill and we were home wiaiting a doctor's appointement. As the UK 24 hours news service flashed the images of the first strike we were shocked to the core.
Was it an accident? If it was why was the plane so low? If it was a terrorist attck it would not have passengers on board, right?
As we sat transfixed the day's events began to play out in real time. Initially the media showed people choosing to jump to their death rather than take thier chances in the fire. Can you blame them? It must have took great courage but to stay was to be certain death for so many.
The second plane hit leaving no doubt that it was an act of terrorism.
News began pouring of the other would be attacks and it seemed the world was on the brink of war.
People wherever you went, even in the UK, talked of little else for days. Speaking with a more informed family member I learned the name Osama Bin Laden and that he was no stranger to terrorism. These days words like the Taliban and Al Qaeda trip of the tongue easily, but then they were unfamiliar to many people, including myself.
No-one could watch the footage of that day and not be moved. In the West it brought sorrow and pain. In some parts of the East it brought jubilation, causing more hate.
Working in a hospital I encounter people from all countries on a daily basis. One thing that struck me at the time is how quickly people's perceptions can change. One trainee doctor from abroad, who wore a turban, began to be verbally abused. Not directly of course but by the coward's way of being underhand and whispering. Subtle changes.
This guy had worked with us for quite some time, was caring, good at his job, polite, friendly and fun so what had changed? He had not.
Perhaps all of this is what helped form my eventual feelings when I heard of the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Having never stood trial for the crimes he is supposed to have committed, he went to his death an innocent man. NO, I hear you say, he was guilty. However, he was never proved guilty of anything, so what else could he be?
He may have claimed responsibilty for some acts of terrorism, but that could just have been the rantings of a madman. Having never stood trial there will always be rumours and a feeling of unfinished business.
I had thought that I and others may sleep easier in our beds once Bin Laden had departed this planet, but we probably will not.
Justice was not been served but rather a lynch mob did what it felt it needed to do. You can argue the toss until you are blue in the face but to all intents and purposes that is what it was.
Terror and terroists have no place on earth but we must fight them, not murder them and break international laws to meet our ends. If we do so we are not much better than them, are we?
I know this will be emotive but remember I am answering a question and this is my personal answer.
So how did I feel.
Glad in one way but not happy nor jubilant. Wary in another way, of what might follow. Hopeful in that at last our troops may be able to return home, from places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Happy for the relatives of those who have died in these terrorist attacks, as they may now have some closure. Sorry that the US felt the need to exclude the Pakistan authorities and illegally enter another country.
The more I think about it perhaps the killing of Bin laden prompted a multitude of feelings not least, anxiety. Will the Taliban reciprocate? Will we see an increase in terrorist attacks? Who will suffer the most? Is global conflict coming?
On 13th May 2011 two suicide bombers in Pakistan killed 80 people The death toll included, mainly, raw police recruits but also a handful of citizens. The Taliban were quick to call the media and claim responsibility for the attack. It was a reprisal for the death of Osama Bin Laden.
So where do we go from here? Heaven only knows."
Eleven months on is the world a safer and better place? Is Afghanistan returning to normal life? Are our military home? Is the Middle East a better place to live, even if you are a woman? Has terrorism ended in Pakistan?President Obama has added the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden to his election campaign. It may prove a positive for him in the US. It would not for me. The nature and circumstances surrounding the death would not sit well. Nor would the ongoing drone attacks countries such as Pakistan have experienced. Yet in my heart I am an Obama fan and hope he will secure another term in the White House. He may not be perfect but he is the better option for the US and the World right now. You may disagree, as is your prerogative.As for Bin Laden he is one of many who sadly do not treasure live on this earth nor hold any liberal thoughts. Too may in the West, including some Western politicians appear not to either.Tages: Osama Bin laden, death of Bin Laden, Barack Obama, Afghanistan, Pakistan drone attacks, terrorism