Osama bin Laden’s family is expected to be deported from Pakistan early on Wednesday, their lawyer and an intelligence official said, 11 months after the US raid that killed the al Qaeda kingpin.
The 9/11 mastermind’s three widows and their children were detained by authorities after the Saudi was killed in a US Navy SEAL operation in Abbottabad last May.
Two weeks ago a court sentenced the widows and two of Bin Laden’s older daughters to 45 days’ detention on charges of illegal entry and residency in Pakistan and ordered their deportation as soon as possible.
They are due to complete the sentence, served in an Islamabad villa designated by authorities as a “sub-jail”, on Tuesday, as it officially began when they were formally arrested on the charges on March 3.
“They will go tonight or tomorrow early in the morning. After 12 tonight they can be deported any time,” their lawyer Muhammad Aamir told AFP on Tuesday.
Aamir said the family — who number 12, including Bin Laden’s three widows, eight children and one grandchild — would probably initially go to Saudi Arabia.
He said Bin Laden’s youngest and reportedly favourite wife, Amal Abdulfattah, who is Yemeni, may be sent to Yemen afterwards with her five children.
An intelligence official confirmed to AFP that the family was expected to be deported “sometime around midnight” and said “most likely they would be flown to Saudi Arabia.”
A number of Saudi diplomats have visited Pakistan in recent weeks to work out the details of the deportation, sources say.
Abdulfattah, 30, told interrogators Bin Laden had fathered four children while he hid out in Pakistan, according to a police report seen by AFP last month.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.