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Bin Laden’s wives, daughters in jail for illegal entry into Pakistan

The five women were sentenced to 45 days in prison for illegally entering and living in the country.

Media and locals watch as the Abbottabad compound Bin Laden was found in is demolished in February 2012.
Media and locals watch as the Abbottabad compound Bin Laden was found in is demolished in February 2012.
Image: AP Photo/Anjum Naveed/PA Images

A PAKISTANI court has convicted Osama bin Laden’s three widows and two of his daughters of illegally entering and living in the country, sentencing them to 45 days in prison with credit for time served, their lawyer said.

They have been in detention since last May when US commandos killed the al-Qaida chief at a house in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad where he had been living with his family for years.

They were formally arrested on 3 March, so they will serve another two weeks in prison and will be deported to their home countries along with the family’s younger children, said their lawyer, Mohammed Amir Khalil. Two of the widows are Saudi and one is Yemeni, he said.

It is unclear whether Saudi Arabia and Yemen will consent to their return. Saudi Arabia stripped bin Laden of his citizenship in 1994 because his behaviour was seen to be in conflict with the interests of the country.

The five women were also ordered to pay a fine of about $110 each, which has already been done, said Khalil. The lawyer does not plan on appealing the court’s ruling.

Islamabad was outraged by the US raid that killed bin Laden because it was not told about it beforehand. Pakistani officials have said they had no idea the al-Qaida chief was in Abbottabad, something many in Washington found hard to believe because his compound was located close to Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point.

The US has not found any evidence indicating senior Pakistani officials knew bin Laden’s whereabouts.

But details released recently from the interrogation of his 30-year-old Yemeni wife, Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, raised fresh questions about how he lived in the country so long undetected.

Bin Laden lived in five safe houses over the course of nine years while on the run in Pakistan and fathered four children — two of them born in government hospitals, according to al-Sada’s interrogation report, which was received by the Associated Press.

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