The controversy over the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA trace Osama bin Laden and was subsequently jailed for 33 years took a new twist when it was claimed that the physician had turned down the chance to relocate to the US.
It also emerged the doctor was convicted last week of alleged links to militants, rather than for treason for assisting the CIA.
Two US officials said that shortly before last year's raid by US special forces in the town of Abottabad, Dr Shakil Afridi and his family were offered the chance to leave Pakistan but declined. A few weeks after the raid, the doctor was arrested by the Pakistani authorities and was last week jailed for 33 years.
Before he was arrested, Dr Afridi was offered opportunities to leave Pakistan with his family but he turned those down, one of the US officials said.
"Some may question why he did this but no one could have foreseen that Pakistan would punish so severely someone whose work benefited the country so much," the official said.
(© Independent News Service)