Gunmen in Pakistan on Tuesday killed a former lawyer for the doctor who ran a fake vaccination program to help the U.S. locate Osama bin Laden, police said.
Senior police officer Shakir Khan said unidentified assailants shot and killed Samiullah Khan Afridi in the northwestern city of Peshawar before fleeing.
Afridi was killed months after he announced that he would no longer represent Dr. Shakil Afridi (they are not related), who was convicted in May 2012 of “conspiring against the state” by giving money and providing medical treatment to militants, not for helping the CIA track down bin Laden.
The lawyer left Pakistan late last year after receiving threats from armed groups and had recently returned, Khan said.
A spokesman for the Taliban-linked Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, Ahsanullah Ahsan, claimed responsibility for the killing in a telephone call to The Associated Press from an unidentified location.
Afridi, the doctor, was accused of running a fake program of hepatitis vaccinations in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, just north of the country’s capital. Leon Panetta, the former U.S. defense secretary, confirmed in 2012 that Afridi had worked for U.S. intelligence by collecting DNA samples to help locate bin Laden.
U.S. forces killed bin Laden in May 2011 in a raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, ending a nearly 10-year hunt following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S.
In May 2012, Dr. Afridi was sentenced to 33 years under the Frontier Crimes Regulations, or FCR, the set of tribal laws that govern Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal region.