Islamabad: Widows, 2 daughters of Osama jailed
ISLAMABAD: A local court convicted on Monday three widows and two grown-up daughters of the slain Al Qaeda chief of illegal residency and impersonation and sentenced them to 45 days imprisonment, to be followed by deportation. The five have been in custody since May 2 last year when Osama bin Laden was killed by US commandos in his Abbottabad residence.
Senior Civil Judge Islamabad Shahrukh Arjumand ordered the interior secretary to deport them to the countries of their origin in accordance with the law. They accepted the charges levelled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Amal Abdulfatah, Osama’s youngest wife, was indicted under section 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for using fake identity in different hospitals when her five children were born.
She and the other two widows of Bin Laden, Khairiah Hussain Sabir alias Umme Khalid and Shaim Sharif, and daughters Mariam and Samina, were also charged, under section 14 (2) of the Foreign Act, with illegally staying in Pakistan.
According to the charges read out by the judge in the presence of Bin Laden’s family, Ms Amal entered Pakistan on a valid visa. But after the expiry of the visa in 2000, she illegally stayed in different areas of the country. The other two women and children entered and stayed in Pakistan without any legal authority.
The FIA also had booked them under sections 212 (harbouring an offender) and 109 (abetment) of the PPC and section 13 of the Foreign Act. However, the agency dropped the charges of harbouring an offender and abetment which entail jail terms of not less than three years.
Zakariya Abdulfatah, younger brother of Amal, had filed in the Islamabad High Court a petition challenging the registration of a criminal case against his sister and her children under sections 13, 14 of the Foreign Act and sections 212 and 419 of the PPC.
Amir Khalil, the counsel for Osama’s family, told Dawn that the FIA had dropped the charges under sections 212 and 109 against his clients because it could not prove them.
He said the members of the family had already spent more than a month in jail since their arrest on March 3. The case against them was registered on March 1 and, therefore, they will be released in a couple of weeks and deported.
He said the widows had requested the judge to consider their case on humanitarian grounds and pardon them because they were helpless women.
FIA assistant director (legal) Khalid Naeem said sections 212 and 419 had been incorporated in the initial incomplete challan because of certain reasons. These sections dealt with those unknown people who had harboured Bin Laden and facilitated his stay in Pakistan.
AFP adds: Monday’s proceedings lasted three hours in a makeshift court set up in the plush house where Osama’s widows and their children are living and where they will serve out their sentences, away from the prying eyes of the media. Police commandos barricaded the main gate of the two-storey house and policemen could be seen on the first floor by journalists, confined to the opposite side of the road in the leafy G-6 neighbourhood of Islamabad.
Defence lawyer Amir told reporters that the accused were “all in good health” and said they had all spoken during Monday’s proceedings.
Zakariya Abdulfatah said the judge had also imposed a fine of Rs10,000 each, which he said had already been paid.
“The court has also given direction to the government to arrange the necessary documents for their earliest repatriation, so that they can go to their own country as soon as possible,” he told reporters.
The three widows have an undisclosed number of children among them, but only those above 12 were charged. Under the Pakistani law, they faced a maximum sentence of five years.