Samiullah Afridi, lawyer for doctor who helped CIA find Bin Laden, shot dead in Pakistan

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Samiullah Afridi, lawyer for doctor who helped CIA find Bin Laden, shot dead in Pakistan
A Pakistani lawyer under death threats for defending a doctor who helped CIA agents hunt al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead on Tuesday. A Taliban splinter group has claimed responsibility. Samiullah Afridi represented Dr. Shakil Afridi, who was jailed in 2012 for 33 years for running a fake vaccination campaign believed to have helped the U.S. intelligence agency track down bin Laden. That sentence was overturned in 2013 and the doctor is now in jail awaiting a new trial.
Samiullah Afridi (C), lawyer for Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who assisted the CIA in their hunt for Osama bin Laden, speaks with the media after a hearing in Peshawar on October 30, 2013. Shakeel Afridi was arrested after US troops killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad, where Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify the Al-Qaeda leader. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
Samiullah Afridi (L), lawyer for Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi who was working for the CIA to help find Osama bin Laden, hugs a man after a hearing in Peshawar on August 29, 2013. A Pakistani official on August 29 overturned the 33-year jail term handed down to a doctor who helped the CIA track Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and ordered a retrial, a lawyer and an official said. Shakeel Afridi was arrested after US troops killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad, where Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify the Al-Qaeda leader. AFP PHOTO / HASHAM AHMED (Photo credit should read HASHAM AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)
Samiullah Afridi (C), lawyer for Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who was working for the CIA to help find Osama bin Laden, leaves after a hearing in Peshawar on August 29, 2013. A Pakistani official on August 29 overturned the 33-year jail term handed down to a doctor who helped the CIA track Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and ordered a retrial, a lawyer and an official said. Shakeel Afridi was arrested after US troops killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad, where Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify the Al-Qaeda leader. AFP PHOTO / HASHAM AHMED (Photo credit should read HASHAM AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)
Hospital staff carry the body of Pakistani lawyer Samiullah Khan Afridi into an ambulance, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a former lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. find Osama bin Laden. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Relatives wheel the body of Pakistani lawyer Samiullah Afridi after he was shot dead in Peshawar on March 17, 2015. Afridi, a former lawyer of the Pakistani doctor jailed after helping the CIA in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was shot dead in northwest Pakistan, officials said. Afridi, who represented Shakeel Afridi, jailed for 33 years in May 2012 after he was convicted of ties to militants, was killed in the outskirts of Peshawar. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer carries the body of Pakistani lawyer Samiullah Afridi into an ambulance after he was shot dead in Peshawar on March 17, 2015. Afridi, a former lawyer of the Pakistani doctor jailed after helping the CIA in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was shot dead in northwest Pakistan, officials said. Afridi, who represented Shakeel Afridi, jailed for 33 years in May 2012 after he was convicted of ties to militants, was killed in the outskirts of Peshawar. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives gather around the body of Pakistani lawyer Samiullah Afridi after he was shot dead in Peshawar on March 17, 2015. Afridi, a former lawyer of the Pakistani doctor jailed after helping the CIA in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was shot dead in northwest Pakistan, officials said. Afridi, who represented Shakeel Afridi, jailed for 33 years in May 2012 after he was convicted of ties to militants, was killed in the outskirts of Peshawar. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Samiullah Afridi (L), lawyer for Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who assisted the CIA in their hunt for Osama bin Laden, arrives at court for a hearing in Peshawar on October 30, 2013. Shakeel Afridi was arrested after US troops killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad, where Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify the Al-Qaeda leader. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
Samiullah Afridi, lawyer for Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who assisted the CIA in their hunt for Osama bin Laden, speaks with media representives after a hearing in Peshawar on October 30, 2013. Shakeel Afridi was arrested after US troops killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad, where Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify the Al-Qaeda leader. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
Samiullah Afridi (C), lawyer for Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who assisted the CIA in their hunt for Osama bin Laden, leaves the building after a hearing in Peshawar on October 30, 2013. Shakeel Afridi was arrested after US troops killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the town of Abbottabad, where Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples to identify the Al-Qaeda leader. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer covers the body of Pakistani lawyer Samiullah Afridi inside an ambulance after he was shot dead in Peshawar on March 17, 2015. Afridi, a former lawyer of the Pakistani doctor jailed after helping the CIA in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was shot dead in northwest Pakistan, officials said. Afridi, who represented Shakeel Afridi, jailed for 33 years in May 2012 after he was convicted of ties to militants, was killed in the outskirts of Peshawar. AFP PHOTO/ A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
People comfort a family member of Pakistani lawyer Samiullah Khan Afridi who was killed, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a former lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. find Osama bin Laden. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Hospital staff and family members carry the body of Pakistani lawyer Samiullah Khan Afridi to an ambulance in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a former lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. find Osama bin Laden. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
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PESHAWAR, March 17 (Reuters) - A Pakistani lawyer under death threats for defending a doctor who helped CIA agents hunt al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead on Tuesday, police said, and a Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility.

Samiullah Afridi represented Dr Shakil Afridi, who was jailed in 2012 for 33 years for running a fake vaccination campaign believed to have helped the U.S. intelligence agency track down bin Laden. That sentence was overturned in 2013 and the doctor is now in jail awaiting a new trial.

Samiullah Afridi was shot dead on Tuesday as he was returning to his home in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said. According to local media, he had recently returned there from abroad after leaving Pakistan for his safety.

The Pakistan militant group Jundullah, a splinter group of the Taliban, claimed responsibility. "We killed him because he was defending Shakil, who is our enemy," spokesman Fahad Marwat told reporters.

U.S. officials have hailed Shakil Afridi as a hero for helping pinpoint bin Laden's location before a 2011 raid by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed the al Qaeda leader after more than a decade of searching for him.

Samiullah Afridi stopped representing the doctor last year, saying he had become a target. "I have been receiving threats from various organizations, and because of those threats I even went to Dubai some time back," he told Reuters TV.

"Some organizations do not want us to continue defending this case ... Not only is my life in danger, my family is also in danger. I have therefore decided to quit this case."

Shakil Afridi's original sentence damaged ties between Pakistan and the United States that were already strained over the bin Laden raid. Angry U.S. senators withheld $33 million in aid from Pakistan in retaliation. (Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmad, Saud Mehsud and Reuters TV; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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