Legal Hurdles Delay Bin Laden Family’s Pakistan Deportation

Pakistan is working to fulfill outstanding legal requirements blocking the deportation of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s widows and daughters to their respective countries, the interior minister said.

“We are in touch with the respective embassies,” the minister, Rehman Malik, said in remarks broadcast by Geo television channel yesterday. Pakistan is seeking replies from the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen stating that they will accept their citizens, he said.

Bin Laden’s three widows and two oldest daughters completed short jail sentences April 16 after being found guilty of illegally entering Pakistan. Police found the women in bin Laden’s fortress-like compound at Abbottabad on May 2, hours after U.S. commandos attacked in helicopters, killing bin Laden and then flying his body out of the country. An unconfirmed number of the women’s younger children also were detained.

A Pakistani court this month said two Saudi women, Siham Sharif and Kharia Hussain Sabir, were among the widows, according to court documents cited by the Express-Tribune and other Pakistani newspapers. Bin Laden’s third wife in Pakistan was Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, a citizen of Yemen.

Earlier this month, a Pakistani court sentenced the adults to 45 days in jail on immigration charges. The court also ordered their deportation after their prison term ended.

The government in February demolished most of the hideout where bin Laden had lived since 2005. A four-member commission named by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is investigating why the army failed to detect bin Laden’s presence or prevent the unilateral U.S. attack that killed him.

Four Births

The al-Qaeda chief moved among five “safe houses” in Pakistan during the nine years he spent in the country after the Sept. 11 attacks, the New York Times reported last month, citing a leaked copy of Fateh’s interrogation in custody.

Fateh’s account was contained in a report by Pakistani civilian and military investigators dated Jan. 19, the newspaper said. In the course of the nine years, Bin Laden fathered four children, at least two of whom were born in a government hospital, the Times said.

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