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Jail term for CIA's aide Afridi overturned in Pakistan
Thursday August 29, 2013 8:09 PM, IANS

A Pakistani judicial official Thursday overturned the 33-year imprisonment sentence awarded to Shakeel Afridi, the man who helped the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) track down Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Xinhua reported citing local media.

According to reports, Sahibzada Mohammad Anees, the commissioner of Frontier Crime (FCR) of the country's semi-autonomous northwestern tribal area of Khyber Agency, declared the previous decision null and void and ordered for a retrial.

The commissioner also ordered handing over of the case to the political agent of the area to restart the trial as a judge.

In May last year, an assistant political agent of the region conducted the trial of Afridi and announced a 33-year jail term for him but the commissioner said he exceeded his authority in the case.

The official also said that Afridi could not be released without the orders and consent of the political agent.

US officials, including former defense secretary Leon Panetta, had publicly confirmed that Afridi had worked for the US intelligence by collecting DNA to verify bin Laden's presence. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton had also made similar remarks about Afridi's role in the CIA operation.

The 33-year imprisonment sentence had caused tension between Washington and Islamabad and the US had called for his release.

A Pakistani panel tasked to investigate the 40-minute uninterrupted US military operation to kill Osama bin Laden and his presence in a compound had proposed high treason against Afridi for helping another state.

While punished in Pakistan for violating the state law, Afridi was considered as a hero in the US with some Congressmen even proposing to present him with the highest American award.

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