Court Convicts bin Laden’s Wives
A court in Pakistan on Monday jailed former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s three widows and two of his daughters for illegally staying in the country and hiding their identity from authorities. The women were sentenced to 45 days in jail.
Citing security concerns, Pakistani authorities held Monday’s legal proceedings at the house in Islamabad where the women have been staying since being formally charged last month.
The court found the widows and two daughters of the former al-Qaida chief guilty of several offenses, including illegal entry into Pakistan and forgery.
Defense attorney Mohammad Amir Khalil told reporters the women will remain under detention for another two weeks before they are freed and eventually deported to their native countries due to time already served.
“They have been sentenced and convicted for 45 days and the secretary interior is also directed to make necessary arrangement for their deportation as per the laws,” said Khalil.
Two of bin Laden’s widows, Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar, are Saudi nationals, while the youngest widow is identified as Yemeni-born Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah al-Sada. They have been in Pakistani custody since the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan last May.
That operation plunged U.S.-Pakistan relations to a new low. Pakistani authorities were outraged because they were not informed about the operation beforehand. U.S. officials, meanwhile, raised questions about how the al-Qaida leader could be hiding out in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad without detection.
U.S. officials maintain they have not found any evidence suggesting Pakistani officials were aware of bin Laden’s compound.
Last week, Pakistani media published new details from the interrogation of bin Laden’s Yemeni widow.
Al-Sada told Pakistani police that bin Laden spent nearly 10 years on the run in Pakistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. She said the family moved to five different safe houses around the country.
The al-Qaida chief’s youngest wife also said she gave birth to four of bin Laden’s children while in Pakistan, two of them born in government hospitals.