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?
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog