x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Pakistan orders bin Laden widows deported

Two of Osama bin Laden's widows - Khairia Hussein Sabir and Silham Sharif - who are said to be in their 50s are Saudi nationals and the youngest, Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah Al Sada, 30, is a Yemeni.

Security personnel stand guard on Monday outside the house where family members of Osama bin Laden are believed to be held in Islamabad.
Security personnel stand guard on Monday outside the house where family members of Osama bin Laden are believed to be held in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD // A Pakistani court yesterday ordered three wives and two daughters of Osama bin Laden be deported almost a year after the Al Qaeda leader was killed in Pakistan by US forces.

The anti-terrorism court also jailed the five for one-and-a-half months and fined them 10,000 Pakistani rupees (Dh405) each for illegal residency in Pakistan.

"The fine has been paid and the ministry of interior has been ordered to make arrangements for their deportation once they complete their jail sentence," the lawyer for the bin Laden family, Mohammad Amir Khalil, told reporters after the closed hearing in a private Islamabad house where the family has been detained.

Mr Khalil said bin Laden's wives and two daughters had already served one month in prison as they had been formally arrested on March 3 for living illegally in Pakistan.

"They will serve two more weeks in jail," he said outside the heavily guarded house in an upmarket neighbourhood of the capital.

Two of bin Laden's widows - Khairia Hussein Sabir and Silham Sharif - who are said to be in their 50s are Saudi nationals and the youngest, Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah Al Sada, 30, is a Yemeni.

The two daughters - 17 and 21 - have been named as Maryam and Sommayya and both are Saudi nationals.

Zakariya Al Sada, brother of Amal, also attended the hearing.

"We are happy with the verdict," Mr Zakariya said in a brief chat through an interpreter. Amal, 30, was injured in the leg by a gunshot during the operation that killed bin Laden in May last year.

While Yemen has called for the repatriation of bin Laden's Yemeni wife and her children, it was not clear if Saudi Arabia would consent to the return of his two widows as the kingdom had stripped bin Laden of his citizenship in 1994.

The five women along with an undisclosed number of children had been detained by the Pakistani security forces since May 2 when US Navy Seals killed bin Laden in an raid on a house not far from the Pakistani army's main academy in the town of Abbottabad.

The discovery of Washington's most wanted man in a high-security zone rekindled suspicions in the United States about Pakistani intelligence's long-standing links with the militant group, although US officials have said they had no evidence to suggest that any senior Pakistani leaders knew he was there.

The raid was a huge embarrassment for the Pakistani military as it was carried out without its knowledge. It also put the military under rare scrutiny at home where questions were raised as to how was it possible for bin Laden to stay unnoticed for years near a sensitive military facility.

Pakistani officials previously said that Amal had told interrogators bin Laden lived for five years in the house in Abbottabad where he was killed.

The house was demolished by the Pakistani authorities last month.

An interrogation report of Amal published in Pakistani newspapers recently said bin Laden lived in Pakistan for nine years after the US invaded Afghanistan to hunt him down.

She said he fathered four more children in Pakistan - two of them born in government hospitals.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States have deteriorated since bin Laden's killing.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae