Oct. 6, 2011 -- The Pakistani commission probing the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May has recommended that a doctor who helped the CIA find the al Qaeda leader be tried for treason.
Dr. Shakil Afridi allegedly conducted a fake vaccine program on behalf of U.S. intelligence, going to door-to-door in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden lived in a high-walled compound, in hopes of collecting DNA samples. The New York Times reported in July that an American official said Afridi was able to get access to the bin Laden family's compound, but did not get DNA samples from bin Laden family members and did not see the al Qaeda leader.
The commission is questioning Afridi, who worked for the local government, and who was arrested after the May 2 Navy SEAL raid that killed bin Laden, in hopes of learning more about the free vaccination program he launched prior to the raid.
In a statement, the commission said "prima facie, a case of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason is made out against him," and that "case under relevant law" should be mounted against him. If convicted of treason, Afridi could hang. The commission, headed by a former Pakistani Supreme Court justice, also includes a former UN diplomat, a retired general and a former police official.
The commission is investigating both how the U.S. was able to raid bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, which is close to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, without detection, and also how bin Laden was able to hide in the city. The bin Laden residence was less than a mile from Pakistan's leading military academy.
In July, a CIA spokesperson declined to comment to ABC News on the alleged vaccination program. On Thursday, a U.S. official told ABC News that the U.S. has "repeatedly" asked the Pakistani government to release Afridi.
Bin Laden, his son and two other men were killed during the May 2 raid. Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. were strained by the raid, which was not disclosed to Pakistani officials beforehand. Bin Laden is believed to have lived in his Abbottabad compound for more than five years, adding to U.S. suspicions that Pakistani authorities were protecting bin Laden and other Islamist militants.
After the SEAL raid, over a period of several weeks in May and June, Pakistani authorities rounded up a handful of people who helped the CIA find and kill bin Laden, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials. Afridi has been detained by the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, since late May.
The commission has also interviewed the widows and children of Osama bin Laden, and has called for the lifting of travel restrictions on them. Pakistani authorities had taken custody of more than a dozen bin Laden family members after the raid.
Matthew Cole contributed to this report.