Osama Bin Laden’s Wives Ordered to be Deported from Pakistan

On March 3rd, Pakistan officials arrested the three wives and two adult daughters of Osama bin Laden. This passed Monday, April 2nd, a Pakistan court ordered that these women serve a total of six weeks in detention for illegally entering the country. Specifically, they violated Pakistani immigration laws, which resulted in all of the women having to pay a $110 fine.

Following their detention they will be deported to their respective countries. Osama bin Laden’s former wives, Kharia Hussain Sabir and Siham Sharif, are both citizens of Saudi Arabia. In addition Osama bin Laden’s two adult daughters are also from Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden’s third wife, Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, is from Yemen.

Because the women have been in custody since March 3rd they only have two weeks left in order for their six-week punishment to be complete. Six weeks may sound pretty lenient to some, but the lawyer representing the women said that this was because they all confessed to what they had done.

Another reason for the brief sentence is because it is tough to provide security for the Bin Laden family. Many people would like to go after them, so there are Pakistani resources being used to somewhat protect them. In addition, the Taliban has been threatening to carry out suicide attacks in order to try and free the family. The Pakistani officials feel that they have gotten all of the information they can out of the women, so it is best to just get them out of the country as soon as possible at this point.

Do you think an extended detention of the Bin Laden family would force them to talk? Do you think the threats from the Taliban are genuine or are they just saying whatever they can to force the release of the Bin Laden family? Is a six-week detention sentence too short of a sentence for people who violated immigration laws?

SOURCE: The New York Times


  1. Because the women did confess to illegally entering into Pakistan, I think that the six-week detention is enough time for them to serve. Although I am not completely familiar with the consequences of violating Pakistani immigration laws, I also believe that longer detentions will certainly spark a violent response from the already-threatening Taliban groups. Pakistan has been trying to address the issue of illegal immigration in the country for over a decade now. Following September 11, 2001, the Pakistani government ordered provincial governments to make efforts to eliminate illegal immigration. The port city of Karachi has a large number of illegal immigrants, and foreign militants were orchestrating bomb attacks and targeted killings in the city. Because of this, the Interior Minister, in January 2010, told illegal immigrants to leave Pakistan or face a major crackdown by way of a citywide monitoring system to oust the terrorist and extremist operations. Taking all of this into consideration, bin Laden’s wives’ detentions may actually be yet another warning in disguise to all of the illegal immigrants still in the country – either leave on your own, confess and be granted leniency, or endure a longer detention until the government gets the information they need and want from you while you are detained.

    Additional information gathered from: http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/6864342.html; http://tribune.com.pk/story/322325/five-million-illegal-immigrants-residing-in-pakistan/

  2. My question is where do these women go? I guess they can separate and go back home to their respective countries, but I doubt they are welcome many places. I do not know how much these women had to do with Bin Laden’s schemes, I would say probably not too much, considering he used his wife as a shield before his death, I can confidently say that he probably was not taking many orders from them. I do not think that holding these women for six weeks is in anyway extreme. Like Amy I am not sure about Pakistan’s laws concerning immigration but it seems reasonable to hold them, make sure they are not a threat, and then send them on their way. It does not sound like Pakistan wants to hold them any longer than they have to at this point. I do not blame them seeing as they are already receiving threats from Taliban groups.

  3. Considering the fact that they confessed to the illegal immigration, I would have to say the six week punishment is appropriate. This is especially true when one considers all of the publicity that the case is getting due the people involved. Specifically, it helps send a message and warning to those who have entered the country illegally that anyone can be found and anyone can be punished. Also, as Amy points out, the six week detention may also provide the message that cooperation will help free up the court for more important matters and in exchange the person can get a lighter sentence.
    In addition, there is also the concern of public safety and security. While immigration crimes are a fairly serious matter, is it really worth the possible loss of human lives to keep them there for a few more weeks or months. Granted, it is not something people should have to consider, but it is a practical concern and requires a careful balancing of the interests involved.

  4. I don’t think the detention was unreasonably long and I really cannot blame Pakistan for wanting to get the women out as quickly as possible, given the potential threat from the Taliban. However, this is Pakistan – the country that allegedly did not know that Osama bin Laden was living in a compound underneath the noses of Pakistan’s military. I’m still fairly skeptical about Pakistan’s role in hiding bin Laden, so the idea that it is being threatened for detaining bin Laden’s wives and daughters seems a little fishy to me. In any event, how involved were bin Laden’s wives and daughters in the Taliban? Will the information obtained from their detention even be meaningful?

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