A Pakistani court sentenced Osama bin Laden's three widows and two adult daughters to 45 days in prison on Monday for illegally living in the country, ordering them deported when the sentence ends, their lawyer said.
With credit for time served, the women and several of their other children will leave Pakistan later this month, said lawyer Mohammed Amir Khalil. They have been in detention since American commandos killed bin Laden in a large house in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad on May 2, but they were formally charged with immigration offenses only last month. The Americans left the women and children behind in the house after they flew off with bin Laden's corpse.
The women may have information about how bin Laden managed to remain undetected for close to 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S., despite being the subject of a massive international manhunt. The youngest, 30-year-old Yemeni wife, Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, has told investigators bin Laden lived in five houses while on the run and fathered four children, two of whom were born in Pakistani government hospitals.
Two of the widows are Saudi, and one is Yemeni. Khalil said Yemen has consented to the return, but he is still in discussions with Saudi officials. Saudi Arabia stripped bin Laden of his citizenship in 1994 because of his verbal attacks against the Saudi royal family.
Al-Sada was overjoyed to finally be heading home, said her brother, Zakaria al-Sada, who has been campaigning for her release. Yemen has issued her five children passports so they can return with her, he said.
A member of the bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had talked to Saudi officials, who indicated they would be willing to allow the widows to return and grant their children citizenship if requested. But the family, which is prominent and wealthy, has not decided whether to intervene on the women's behalf, he said.
The five women were also ordered to pay a fine of about $110 each, which has already been done, said Khalil. The lawyer said he does not plan to appeal.
The three widows would like to be deported to the same country to "stay as one family," he said.