The Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been sentenced to 33 years in jail for high treason.
Shakil Afridi, the 48-year-old doctor, had been accused of running a fake hepatitis B vaccination program, collecting DNA samples reportedly used by U.S. intelligence officers to track bin Laden to Abbottabad, where Navy SEALs killed him in a raid on his compound last year.
A tribal court found Afridi guilty of "acting against the state," the New York Times reported. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison and a fine of 320,000 Pakistani rupees or $3,477, a government official said.
Afridi, who was arrested shortly after bin Laden's killing, was sentenced under tribal laws and will serve his jail term in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. Tribal laws do not carry the death penalty for treason.
According to Reuters, the sentence "almost certain to further strain ties" between Washington and Pakistan. Following the raid, U.S. officials raised suspicions that Pakistani intelligence may have sheltered bin Laden in Abbottabad. The raid "humiliated" Pakistan, who saw it as a violation of their sovereignty.
"Afridi's prison term could complicate efforts to break a deadlock in talks over the re-opening of land routes through Pakistan to U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, which are crucial for supplies," Reuters said.
In January, Defense Sec. Leon Panetta "confirmed that the United States had been working with Afridi while trying to confirm the location of Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad," the Times said.
"For [Pakistan] to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part," Panetta said, according to the paper.
According to the BBC, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had also called for Afridi's release "on the grounds that his work served Pakistani and American interests."
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