PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN – A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden has been charged with murder over a 2006 surgery he performed, his lawyer said Friday, raising new doubts whether the physician will regain his freedom.
Shakil Afridi is already being held in prison pending retrial on a separate charge, despite U.S. officials demanding he be released. The case has caused friction between Pakistan and the U.S., complicating a relationship that Washington views as vital for fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida, as well as negotiating an end to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
The murder charge stems from a complaint over a teenage boy who died after Afridi performed surgery on him for appendicitis in 2006.
The complaint, filed by the deceased teenage boy’s mother, Nasib Gula, says Afridi was not authorized to operate on her son because he was a physician, not a surgeon, said the doctor’s lawyer, Samiullah Afridi. The boy died from complications following the surgery, which took place in Pakistan’s remote Khyber tribal area, the lawyer said.
The lawyer, who is not related to his client, said the case has no merit because too much time has passed since the incident. The trial has been scheduled for mid-December, he said.