Pakistan have charged the late al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden’s three widows with illegal entry. The indictment of Bin Laden’s wives is accompanied with allegations that the al-Qaeda leader may have been betrayed by his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
A phone call between al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden’s older Saudi wife, Khairia, allegedly led the US Navy SEALs to carry out the targeted killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist at his safe-house in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011.
Al-Zawahiri and other senior al-Qaeda commanders were reportedly concerned that Bin Laden’s deteriorating health had turned him into a liability. Khairia apparently arrived in Abbottabad in March 2011, shortly after the phone call and just two months before her husband Osama Bin Laden’s death. The last time she had seen her husband was prior to the September 11th attacks of 2011.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik who announced the charges did not indicate when their trial would begin. “The case has been registered only against the adults. They can have a lawyer and they have full liberty to go to court and defend themselves,” Malik stated. Malik further stated Nin Laden’s children were being kept in a five-bedroom house “with proper facilities.” The children were “free to return to their native countries” if their mothers agreed.
The wives two from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen and 10 of their children were taken into custody shortly after he was killed. A commission probing how Bin Laden lived undetected for years in Pakistan investigated his widows and daughters and took statements from them last year. The revelation that bin Laden was in Pakistan ajacent to Pakistan’s military academy was an embarrassment for Islamabad.
April 2012 Update: The widows and daughters were sentenced to 45 days in prison and have been deported to Saudi Arabia.
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