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Pakistan to free Osama bin Laden's wives, children

Mohammad Sajjad / AP

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ISLAMABAD -- Osama Bin Laden's three wives and their children will be released from imprisonment in Pakistan Tuesday, after completing a 45-day sentence for staying illegally in Pakistan.

"They will complete their sentence today and will be deported to Saudi Arabia after midnight," Aamir Khalil, lawyer for bin Laden's youngest wife Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, told NBC News in Islamabad Tuesday.


"Their travel documents have been completed by the Yemen and Saudi Embassies in Islamabad," he said.

A Pakistani court has sentenced Osama bin Laden's three wives, and two of his daughters to 45 days in prison, for violating immigration laws. His youngest wife, who was with bin Laden when U.S. forces raided his compound last May, has provided the Pakistani Intelligence with a detailed account of the al-Qaida mastermind's life on the run since September 11, 2001. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports.

When asked about how they would travel, Khalil said he didn't know which airline they would fly with but guessed "it could be a special plane" from a Saudi airline.

He said the bin Laden family members were "very happy" to be free after months of detention in Pakistan following the U.S. military commando operation that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2 last year.

 

Yemen-born al-Sadeh and her four children were among the 16 people detained by Pakistani authorities after the raid, which also included two other wives from Saudi Arabia.

New bin Laden revelations?
The family members are being detained in a heavily guarded house in a residential neighborhood of the capital Islamabad. Few have had access to the family.

Once outside Pakistan, bin Laden's relatives could reveal details about how the world's most wanted man was able to hide in U.S. ally Pakistan for years, possibly assisted by elements of the country's powerful military and spy agency, Reuters reported.

"The Pakistan military and intelligence are confident that the facts are already known to America, most of (them) anyway," Talat Masood, a retired general and political analyst, told Reuters.

January 16, 1997, nearly four years before the 9/11 terror attacks,  NBC Nightly News aired the first network television report on Osama Bin Laden.  NBC's Tom Brokaw referred to Bin Laden as "maybe the most dangerous man in the world."  NBC's Andrea Mitchell profiles Bin Laden who commanded a business empire dedicated to terrorism.

Pakistan's government and military have said they had no links to bin Laden.

Any revelations about ties to bin Laden could embarrass Islamabad and infuriate Washington, which staged a decade-long hunt for bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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