Pakistan set to deport bin Laden family

2012-04-13 20:02

ISLAMABAD, April 13 - Pakistan will deport the widows and children of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to Saudi Arabia next week after their jail sentence for illegal residency ends, their lawyer said on Friday.

The three women and two children were detained by Pakistani security forces after a secret US special forces raid killed bin Laden in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad in May last year.

Earlier this month a Pakistani court sentenced the women to 45 days in prison for illegally staying in the country. It ordered their deportation after the prison term which began on March 3 when they were formally arrested.

"They are likely to be deported to Saudi Arabia on April 18, as their sentence ends on April 17," the family's lawyer, Aamir Khalil, told Reuters.

The three widows and the children were among the 16 people detained after the US raid. Two of the wives are Saudi nationals, and one is from Yemen.

The family is being held at a house in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Analysts had said Pakistan may have preferred a lengthy prison sentence for the family to prevent them from discussing details of their time in the country.

Once outside Pakistan, bin Laden's relatives could reveal details about how the world's most wanted man was able to hide in US ally Pakistan for years, possibly assisted by elements of the country's powerful military and spy agency.

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