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Court sentences 5 bin Laden relatives for living illegally in Pakistan

From Shaan Khan, CNN
updated 7:38 PM EDT, Mon April 2, 2012
  • The 5 will be released in mid-April, lawyer says
  • The three widows and two other relatives faced charges of living illegally in Pakistan
  • The court orders their repatriation after completion of sentence
  • They have been detained since the U.S. raid in May that killed bin Laden

Editor's note: Read an Arabic version of this story

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A Pakistani judge sentenced Osama bin Laden's three widows and two daughters on Monday to 45 days of house detention for living illegally in Pakistan, the widows' lawyer said.

The judge ordered that after their term, the five be deported back to their countries of citizenship, said Amir Khalil, the lawyer.

He said the time served began March 3, when the five were formally arrested or taken into custody, and that they would all be released by mid-April.

The widows -- identified by U.S. and Pakistani officials as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fateh, Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar -- have been in Pakistani custody since U.S. Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad and killed the al Qaeda leader in May 2011.

The daughters are ages 17 and 21, Khalil said.

Since all five defendants confessed to impersonation, illegal entry into Pakistan and staying illegally in Pakistan, there was no need for a trial, said Khalil, who added that his clients would not appeal the "lenient" sentence.

They will serve their sentence in the Islamabad residence where the trial took place, Khalil said.

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2011: 3 of bin Laden's wives identified

A source familiar with the widows' case said last week that the Yemeni government has expressed willingness to let Fateh, bin Laden's youngest widow, return home. Saudi Arabia, where the other two women are from, has been resistant.

The judge also fined each of the defendants 10,000 rupees, or about $110, Khalil said, adding that the fines had been paid in court.

Bin Laden spent years on the run in Pakistan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, moving from one safe house to another and fathering four children -- at least one of whom was born in a government hospital, Fateh has told Pakistani investigators.

A deposition taken from Fateh gives the clearest picture yet of bin Laden's life while international forces hunted him.

"While we may never be able to corroborate every detail, generally speaking, bin Laden's wife's account seems plausible, and it confirms some previously held theories on where the al-Qaeda leader was hiding over the years," a U.S. official said about the widow's account.

In the January 19 police report, Fateh said she had always wanted to marry a holy warrior. When word of plans for her arranged marriage to bin Laden came in 2000, she flew to Pakistan, crossed the Afghanistan border at Quetta and went to Kandahar.

She said she did not recall exactly when, but she was married before the 2001 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

She lived with bin Laden and his two other wives until the attacks. The family "scattered" after that, she told police.

She said she returned to the southern port city of Karachi with her eldest daughter, Safia, and stayed in an apartment for eight or nine months. She said that "all the things were arranged by some Pakistani family and Saad," bin Laden's eldest son.

They moved six or seven times in Karachi before she reunited with bin Laden in the border city of Peshawar. They moved to the Swat Valley, living in two houses over an eight- or nine-month period.

Next, they shifted to Haripur, also in northern Pakistan. Fateh's daughter Aasia was born there in 2003 and son Ibrahim the next year. Fateh said she stayed in a hospital on both occasions.

They settled in Abbottabad in 2005 and stayed there for six years before bin Laden was killed.

Fateh gave birth to two more children in Abbottabad -- daughter Zainab was born in 2006 and son Hussain in 2008.

Fateh said two families, whom she called the Ibrahim and Abrar families, stayed with them while they were in Swat, Haripur and Abbottabad, and "everything was arranged by them."

She said some members of those two families were killed in the raid, as was bin Laden's 20-year-old son, Khalid.

She told police she never applied for a visa during her stay in Pakistan.

CNN asked Pakistani officials in Washington, in e-mails and over the phone, whether they had any knowledge of Fateh's movements and got no response.

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