ISLAMABAD: Authorities have brought charges against former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s three widows for illegally entering and living in the country, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Thursday.
The al Qaeda leader was killed in a secret raid by US Special Forces in Abbottabad in May last year after a decade-long manhunt. His three wives and an undisclosed number of children were among the 16 people detained by Pakistani authorities after the raid.
“They (the wives) were presented before the court. After that, they are on judicial remand, and are being kept in a proper, legal manner,” Malik told reporters. “Cases have been registered against the adults, not the children.”
The children, he said, were living comfortably in a five-bedroom house in Islamabad. “A house has been bought for them to live in.”
Two of the wives are Saudi nationals, and one is from Yemen, according to the Pakistani foreign ministry.
Malik did not specify which court was dealing with the case, or where the women were being held. They will have to stand trial, but it was not clear what punishment they faced if convicted.
Authorities had previously said they will repatriate the women to their home countries after a judicial commission probing the Bin Laden raid had completed its questioning. The commission has interviewed the family members for clues about how the al Qaeda chief managed to stay in the country undetected.
The youngest widow, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, told investigators in May that Bin Laden and his family lived for five years in the compound in Abbottabad where he was killed.