Pakistan court sentences bin Laden wives

Three widows and two daughters of former al-Qaeda chief jailed for one-and-a-half months for illegal residency.

    Osama Bin Laden, ex-al-Qaeda chief, was found and killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011 [Reuters]

    A Pakistani court has sentenced Osama bin Laden's three widows and two of his daughters to a month and a half in prison for illegal residency.

    The court on Monday also ordered the government to arrange the repatriation of the wives.

    "The judge has announced a one-and-a-half month imprisonment to all the five accused. The punishment was announced today. He has also imposed a fine of 10,000 rupees," Zakarya Ahmad Abd al-Fattah, the Yemeni brother of one of the wives, told reporters.

    "The court has also given direction to the government to arrange the necessary documents for their earliest repatriation, so that they can go to their own country as soon as possible," Fattah told reporters.

    Muhammad Aamir, their lawyer, said the period of detention began on March 3, when they were formally arrested on charges of illegal entry and residency in Pakistan and that they would continue to be held at their villa in Islamabad.

    "The interior secretary has been directed to arrange their deportation," Aamir told reporters outside the villa, which officials have declared a "sub jail".

    "I think it will be completed probably in two weeks," he said.

    Bin Laden's two Saudi and one Yemeni widows, together with their children, have been living under the protection of the authorities in Pakistan since he was killed last year.

    Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, was in hiding since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

    He was killed on May 2 in a secret raid by US special forces when he was found to be hiding out in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

    Bin Laden's wives, and an undisclosed number of children, were among the 16 people detained by Pakistani authorities after the raid.

    A Pakistani commission has interviewed the family members for clues about how the former al-Qaeda chief managed to stay in the country undetected.

    The country has always said it would look after bin Laden's family until they could be repatriated to their homelands.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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