Bin Laden doctor on hunger strike

Osama bin Laden: Was killed in a raid on 2 May, 2011 (AP)
Osama bin Laden: Was killed in a raid on 2 May, 2011 (AP)
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The Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden started a hunger strike in his jail cell this week to protest against his living conditions, prison officials said.

Shakil Afridi was sentenced in May to 33 years in jail for his links to a banned militant group.

The decision was widely seen as punishment for helping the CIA find the al-Qaeda leader, and has led to strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.

Prison officials in the north-western city of Peshawar said they are keeping Afridi in solitary confinement and will not allow him to have visitors nor speak to anyone by telephone as punishment for a media interview he gave in September.

“After the interview in which Dr Shakil Afridi levelled serious allegations against the country’s top spy agency, the prison authorities barred his family members and lawyers from meeting him,” said a prison official.

“In protest, Dr Shakil has begun a hunger strike for an 
indefinite period.”

An investigation following the September interview found that Afridi had bribed guards to use their mobile phones to speak to journalists, family and friends, making a total of 58 calls, prison officials said. Six prison guards have been suspended.

US officials have hailed 
Afridi, aged in his 40s, as a hero for helping pinpoint Bin Laden’s location before the May 2011 
raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader.