Bin Laden family on way to Saudi Arabia

April 18, 2012 at 2:02 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 18 (UPI) -- Fourteen members of Osama bin Laden's family were to be deported to Saudi Arabia Wednesday, almost a year after bin Laden was killed, the family's lawyer said.

The three widows, two adult daughters and nine underage children of the former founder and leader of the al-Qaida jihadist organization were to leave the Pakistani capital aboard a chartered plane for an unidentified destination in Saudi Arabia, Aamir Khalil said.

They face no charges in Saudi Arabia and will live incognito in relative luxury with bin Laden's extended family, Khalil told McClatchy Newspapers.

Osama bin Laden's half-brother, Bakr Bin Mohammed Binladin, chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest construction companies in the world, will look after the 14 family members, McClatchy said.

"They will live with the family, but under very tight restrictions [on movement] and security arrangements made by the kingdom's authorities," McClatchy quoted Khalil as saying.

They won't be allowed to talk to the media, and it was unclear whether U.S. officials who might want to interrogate them would have access to them, McClatchy said.

Their release comes ahead of the May 2 first anniversary of bin Laden's killing by U.S. Navy SEALs in the garrison town of Abbottabad, 30 miles northeast of Islamabad.

The family members were detained by Pakistani authorities after the predawn raid. Osama bin Laden's body was taken and later buried at sea, the Obama administration said.

A Pakistani court convicted the three widows and two adult daughters April 2 of illegally entering and living in Pakistan.

State prosecutors had not pressed the more serious charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist, which could have led to jail sentences of up to seven years.

U.S. requests for access to the three widows were rejected by the Pakistani government, which was infuriated Washington had not to informed it of the Abbottabad raid.

The widows and daughters were sentenced to 45 days in prison, the shortest possible sentence, and given credit from March 3 for time served.

Their prison term in the capital, Islamabad, ended Tuesday.

Pakistan was embarrassed in March by press leaks of a statement given to federal investigators by Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, bin Laden's youngest wife and a Yemeni national.

She told them bin Laden and his family had lived in Pakistan since 2002 -- not 2006, as previously thought.

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