The Commissioner Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) Saturday reduced Dr Shakil Afridi’s 33 years sentence by 10 years in a case about his alleged links with banned militant organisation Lashkar-i-Islam.
The judgment was announced by Peshawar Commissioner Captain (r) Munir Azam, in capacity of the FCR Commissioner for Khyber Agency. He cut the sentence of Dr Afridi from 33 to 23 years and lowered the amount of fine previously imposed on him from Rs320,000 to Rs220,000.
Dr Afridi was arrested in 2011 by Pakistani authorities shortly after the raid on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad house. He reportedly carried out a fake polio immunisation drive to help American CIA find out Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad by obtaining DNA samples. However, he has not been convicted of helping the CIA but for having links to outlawed militant group Lashkar-i-Islam.
In May 2012, Dr Shakil Afridi had been convicted by Fata Tribunal and jailed. Afridi’s lawyers had appealed to FATA Tribunal for removal of the sentence and submitted a plea for review.
On Saturday, FCR Commissioner Munir Azam upheld the old judgment but removed one Clause 123 A, reviewed the jail term and the fine.
Soon after the decision, Dr Afridi’s counsel Samiullah Afridi said it was an unexpected decision and his client would appeal against it, saying they had demanded fresh trial and not a review of the verdict. A fresh plea for a re-trial would be presented to the FATA tribunal next week, the lawyer said.
Jamil Afridi, brother of Dr. Afridi, said that it seemed that the decision had been dictated, adding FCR commissioner court is administrative in nature not judicial. He also said that the family had not appealed for reduction in punishment but wanted a retrial.
Dr Afridi, a former surgeon of Khyber Agency, is in solitary confinement in the Peshawar Central Prison since his conviction and sentencing.
Owing to security threats, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has time and again asked the federal government to take over his custody. In this regard, KPK government has written to the interior ministry stating that Dr Afridi is a high profile prisoner and arrangements for his detention should be made by the federal government.