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Europe
Spain refuses bin Laden son asylum
Al-Qaeda leader's son loses appeal despite calling on his father to renounce violence.
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2008 23:55 GMT
Omar bin Laden says his surname is
causing him trouble [AFP]

Spain has rejected a petition by Osama bin Laden's son for political asylum, months after the British government refused to allow him to live in England.

Omar bin Laden and his wife Zaina Alsabah bin Laden lost their appeal to live in Spain "on the grounds of insufficient evidence of danger or threat to [Omar’s] life", a statement released by the couple on Wednesday said.

"As you know, we are having a very difficult time finding a country who will accept Omar, only because of his family name. This is unfair. Omar is not his father," the statement said.

Omar has repeatedly called on his father, who leads al-Qaeda, to renounce violence.

British 'concern'

In his appeal to the Spanish government on Monday, the 28-year-old had said that his life was in danger because he refused to support his father.

His request for asylum came immediately after he arrived at Madrid's Barajas airport on an Egypt Air flight from Cairo.

Omar lives in the Egyptian capital with his 52-year-old wife, formerly known as Jane Felix-Browne.

The decision to reject the asylum petition met the rules of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a spokesman for Spain's interior ministry said.

"He was notified of the decision early this afternoon," he said.

In April, Britain prevented Omar from settling in the country, saying that his asylum would arouse "public concern".

He had said that he wanted to live in England with Zaina at her home near Northwich in the northwestern county of Cheshire.

Renunciation of violence

While he has condemned violent acts in media interviews, Omar has declined to directly condemn his father, particularly over the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"Those who know the Arab culture understand that sons are not allowed to publicly attack their fathers. This is cultural," the statement released on Wednesday by Omar and his wife said.

"This does not mean that Omar agrees with his father's activities. He does not … Only those who truly know the Arab culture will realise Omar's bravery in taking a stance for peace against his father."

Omar is the fourth of 11 children born to his father's first wife, and he is one of 19 children Osama bin Laden has fathered.

The couple said that their decision to leave Egypt for England "had nothing to do with any actions of the Egyptian government".

"There were outsiders working within Egypt which created genuine concern for Omar's safety. That is the only reason we left Egypt," the statement said.

Source:
Agencies
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