ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 8 (UPI) -- The three widows of Osama bin Laden, held in Pakistan since the death of the al-Qaida leader, were charged with illegally entering the country, a minister said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, disclosing the charges, told reporters the three are in the custody of Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency, the Hindu newspaper reported.
The women and their children have been detained in Pakistan since a U.S. Navy SEALs team killed bin Laden May 2, 2011, during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Malik said the children, who were not charged, could be sent back to their countries with the approval of their mothers. The youngest of the wives is from Yemen, while the other two are believed to be from Saudi Arabia.
Malik did not say when the hearing took place, nor when the trial for the women would start. He said the case of the wives, who had been under house arrest in a five-bedroom house, was being handled by the Federal Investigation Agency, The New York Times reported.
Malik had told a Pakistani inquiry commission on the May 2 incident the government was not aware bin Laden had been living in Abbottabad, where Pakistan's military academy is located, although the wives have said he had been living in the compound since e 2005, the Times reported.
The Washington Post reported 27 people, including eight of bin Laden's children and four of his grandchildren, were living in compound raised by the U.S. forces.
Separately, Shaukat Qadir, a retired Pakistani Army brigadier who has been researching bin Laden's stay in Pakistan, says the al-Qaida leader had been moving around northwest Pakistan disguised as a Pashtun elder before settling in Abbottabad in 2005, the Times reported.
Qadir said Pakistani interrogators had been told of tensions among the wives in the Abbottabad house and that an older woman who occupied a separate floor in the house had been accused of betraying bin Laden to U.S. intelligence.