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Pakistan’s deportation of Bin Laden family delayed | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Islamabad, Asharq Al-Awsat – The expected deportation of Osama Bin Laden’s family from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia has been delayed because their passports are not ready. The Bin Laden family, including Osama Bin Laden’s three widows and children, were originally scheduled to leave Pakistan overnight Tuesday. Two of the wives are Saudi nationals, and the third is from Yemen.

The Bin Laden family lawyer, Muhammad Aamir, revealed that members of the Bin Laden family were originally scheduled to be deported from Pakistan on Tuesday, nearly 11 months following the world’s most wanted terrorist’s death at the hands of US forces. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from Pakistan, Aamir said that “it is likely that the [Bin Laden] family will be deported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.

He added “the prison sentence that had been issued against Bin Laden’s three widows, and two daughters, for their illegal entry to the country has been completed…and they will now be deported to their countries, as ordered by the courts.”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat before the delay in the deportation, Aamir revealed that “the Bin Laden family will leave at night; they will all – most likely – go to Saudi Arabia, although it is possible that Amal [Bin Laden’s Yemeni wife] will be deported to Yemen along with her children.”

Bin Laden’s three wives, along with two adult daughters, were given a 45-day prison sentence for illegally entering Pakistan, this sentence ended on Tuesday. They had been scheduled to be deported from Pakistan immediately following the completion of their sentence; however this departure was delayed for bureaucratic reasons.

For his part, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Aziz Al-Ghadeer informed Asharq Al-Awsat that 24-hours following the end of the 45-day prison sentence, the Saudi embassy in Pakistan had not received any requests for official documentation in preparation for the Bin Laden family’s deportation. He added that the doors of Saudi Arabia’s embassies and consulates are open to all Saudi nationals without exception, adding that the Saudi embassy in Islamabad has two lawyers who specialize in legal affairs to aid Saudi nationals in Pakistan.

Ambassador Al-Ghadeer stressed that no member of the Bin Laden family had contacted the Saudi embassy to solve the problem regarding identification documentation prior to their deportation. He also said that should any of Osama Bin Laden’s widows’ contact the Saudi embassy in Islamabad, the embassy will investigate the relevant documents and take a timely decision, adding “we are waiting to receive the required documentation that proves their identity.”

The Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan stressed that the Saudi embassy in Pakistan undertakes every effort to serve Saudi nationals in the country, whoever they might be, in response to the royal decrees regarding the importance of supporting Saudi nationals abroad. He added that if there are any developments regarding Bin Laden’s two Saudi wives and their children, the Saudi embassy in Islamabad will issue a press statement in this regard.

Yemeni Ambassador to Pakistan, Abdu Abdul Rahman, revealed that Osama Bin Laden’s Yemeni wife and their children are waiting for the end of routine investigations by the security apparatus in preparation for their deportation, adding that these procedures could require up to 3 days following their release.

Five members of the Bin Laden family were sentenced to 45-days imprisonment on 2 April for illegally entering the country; they were released on Tuesday after time served.

The Bin Laden family was detained by Pakistani authorities last May after US Navy SEALs raided the compound in Abbottabad in northwest Pakistan. Pakistan interrogated the family members and eventually charged Bin Laden’s widows and two adult daughters with illegally entering and living in the country. Their prison term, which was spent at a well-guarded house in Islamabad, ended Tuesday. The Bin Laden family was scheduled to be immediately deported to Saudi Arabia around midnight, but this departure was delayed for “bureaucratic” reasons, according to the Bin Laden family lawyer Muhammad Aamir.

Aamir told Agence France-Presse [AFP] that the Bin Laden family were expected to receive their passports later on Wednesday and may be able to leave for Saudi Arabia later in the day.

Whilst a senior Pakistani security official also told AFP that Islamabad is awaiting the green light from the Saudi and Yemeni governments for the deportation to proceed. He said that “no timeframe can be given at the moment” adding that discussions were ongoing.

Saudi Arabia stripped Bin Laden of his citizenship in 1994, and there have been some questions as to whether Riyadh would accept the return of Bin Laden family members from Pakistan. Saudi officials have reportedly visited Bin Laden’s widows over the past weeks in preparation for their deportation to Saudi Arabia.