Pakistani court orders the Bin Laden family to be imprisoned, then deported
ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani court Monday ordered three wives and two adult daughters of Osama bin Laden to complete six weeks in prison for illegally entering the country and then be deported, the family’s lawyer said.
The lawyer, Mohammed Amir Khalil, said Judge Shahrukh Arjumand had sentenced the five women for violating Pakistani immigration laws and fined each of them about $110.
Khalil said they would be deported to their respective countries of citizenship by April 15.
“The date of arrest is March 3,” Khalil said. “They will serve another two weeks.”
Bin Laden’s three wives are currently under house arrest in Islamabad. Monday’s hearing took place under strict security as local authorities used the rented house where the family is being held as a makeshift court.
“The Interior Ministry has been ordered to make necessary arrangement for the family’s repatriation,” Khalil said. “I don’t think it will take more than two weeks to get their passports ready and for clearance” from the ministry.
Khalil said he did not plan to appeal the sentence.
“The wives had confessed to illegally entering the country,” he said. “Courts usually take a lenient view if confessional statements are made.”
The court documents named two of the wives as Khairiah Saber and Siham Sharif, both citizens of Saudi Arabia, as are the two adult daughters who were charged.
The third, and youngest, is Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, 30, who is from Yemen. She was wounded in the U.S. raid in which bin Laden was killed. It was unclear how many younger children were still with the women.
Analysts said the speedy conviction showed that the Pakistani authorities saw little advantage in continuing to detain the family.
“The wives have probably already told what they would have said publicly after their release,” said Omar R. Quraishi, the opinion pages editor of The Express Tribune, an English-language daily based in Karachi.
“The bin Ladens are also a security headache,” he added, referring to threats by Taliban insurgents last month to carry out suicide attacks against the officials, lawyers and judge involved in the family’s trial.
The wives have been in the custody of Pakistani authorities since May when U.S. Navy SEAL commandos stormed a house in Abbottabad and killed bin Laden.
The raid was highly embarrassing for Pakistan’s military and spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, which has grappled with accusations of complicity in protecting bin Laden and of incompetence in tracking him.