ISLAMABAD- The lawyer defending a Pakistani doctor jailed after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden is quitting the case because of death threats and alleged U.S. interference in the trial, the lawyer said today.
"I am getting threats on a regular basis. Not only is my life in danger, my family is also in danger. I have therefore decided to quit," lawyer Samiullah Afridi said.
Afridi is representing Dr. Shakil Afridi, who was jailed for 33 years after helping the CIA find the al-Qaida chief. Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan until U.S. Navy Seals killed him in a 2011 raid.
Afridi's sentence was later overturned. He is still in jail and undergoing a retrial, but his lawyer said the U.S. government was unduly interfering.
"The government of America is putting a lot of pressure on the Pakistani government for the release of Dr. Shakil Afridi," he said.
Pakistan's powerful army was furious that the United States had mounted a military operation on its soil without advance warning. In turn, some U.S. leaders were suspicious that Pakistani security forces may have helped shield bin Laden.
After it emerged that Afridi had run a fake vaccination campaign in an effort to help the CIA find bin Laden, Pakistani authorities jailed him for alleged links to militants.