Yemen urged Pakistan on Tuesday to free one of Osama bin Laden’s injured widows, saying Yemen-born Amal Al-Sadeh and her four children were not guilty of any crime.
Earlier this month, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said that Bin Laden’s three widows, including Amal, would be put on trial for entering and living in the country illegally.
“The Pakistani authorities retracted from their initial position to surrender Amal to the Yemeni government,” Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi told Reuters.
“We continue to call on the Pakistani authorities to transfer her to her home country. We are also concerned about the well being of her young children. The children should not be punished for the mistakes of their father.”
Al Qaeda leader Bin Laden was found and killed in May last year by US Special Forces who stormed his house in the garrison town of Abbottabad after a decade-long manhunt.
Amal, two other wives from Saudi Arabia and an undisclosed number of children were among the 16 people detained by authorities after the raid.
Relatives said Amal, who was shot in the leg during the raid, entered Pakistan legally.
“She came to Pakistan with her elder brother in 2000 using her passport,” said Hameed Al-Sadeh, Amal’s 27-year-old cousin.
“They flew from Sanaa to Karachi. There was nothing illegal about it. The Pakistani authorities have even released a photocopy of her passport,” he told Reuters. Hameed, who is a journalist in Sanaa, said Amal was being held with her four children in a basement.
“She limps from a bullet wound in her knee and is suffering from psychological trauma and very low blood pressure,” he said. “She hasn’t seen the sun for months, they are kept in the basement below the earth, she and her four children, the eldest is a 12-year-old girl, and three boys, the youngest is two.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.