Posted May 23, 2012 10:14 pm CDT
A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama Bin Laden was convicted Wednesday of conspiring against the state and was sentenced to 33 years in prison.
The move adds new strains to an already deeply troubled relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. officials had urged Pakistan to release the doctor, Shakil Afridi, who ran a vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and verify the al-Qaida leader’s presence at the compound in Abbottabad where he was killed by U.S. commandos last May.
Afridi’s lengthy sentence will be taken as another sign of Pakistan’s defiance of U.S. wishes. It could also provide further fuel to critics who say Pakistan—which has yet to arrest anyone for sheltering bin Laden—should no longer be treated as an ally.
Afridi is widely viewed as a hero in the United States for helping to eliminate the world’s most wanted man. But Pakistani officials view him as a traitor who collaborated with a foreign spy agency in an illegal operation on Pakistani soil.