US refused to give Osama bin Laden’s son death certificate for ex-al Qaeda leader

Published: June 19, 2015
Osama bin Laden. PHOTO: REUTERS

Osama bin Laden. PHOTO: REUTERS

Saudi Foreign Ministry documents leaked by Wikileaks on Friday show that the US turned down a request from Abdullah bin Laden, the son of former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, a death certificate for this father.

According to a letter sent a letter to the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia, Abdullah asked the US to provide a death certificate for his father, whom US troops had allegedly buried at sea. 

However, the embassy turned down the request and informed him no such certificate had been.

Rather than turning the young Bin Laden away empty handed, the US embassy went on to list other ways in which he could confirm the former al Qaeda leader’s death.

On Friday, the organisation released what it said was the first part of more than a half-million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry, dubbing it as “The Saudi Cables.”

Read: 7 surprising things we learnt from Bin Laden’s ‘treasure trove’

The US Embassy’s response to Abdullah, which was included within the release, is dated September 9, 2011, four months after bin Laden was killed by US forces during a raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.


The US maintains that the al Qaeda chief, after troops shot him dead at the compound in Abbottabad, had extracted his body, later burying him at sea. Requests to publish photographs of bin Laden’s body or his burial, have been denied and any photographs taken are suspected to have been destroyed.

In the letter to Abdullah bin Laden, Glen Keiser, a consul at the US Embassy in Riyadh, explained that the lack of a death certificate for bin Laden is “consistent with regular practice for individuals killed in the course of military operations.”

Read: US agents plotted to find Osama bin Laden via meds: report

The consul adds that the criminal case against Bin Laden was dropped due to his death, and describes a process for requesting the order of “nolle prosequi” (which literally means “unwilling to pursue”) from the court, which could act as proof of death.

It’s unclear why Abdullah bin Laden had requested the death certificate.

The US Department of Defense in 2012 had responded to an Associated Press Freedom of Information Act request, saying it was unable to find a death certificate for bin Laden.

The article originally appeared on The Washington Post

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Reader Comments (1)

  • unbelievable
    Jun 20, 2015 - 12:09AM

    USA should have “round filed” that request and not even responded .. stupid publicity stunt.Recommend

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