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Osama bin Laden's family deported to Saudi Arabia. Case closed?

Osama bin Ladens three wives and 11 children left Pakistan early Friday, closing an awkward chapter for Pakistan, but leaving unanswered questions about complicity of Pakistani state.

Media chase a minivan carrying the family of Osama bin Laden, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday morning. A minivan carrying the three widows and children of Bin Laden has left the house where they have been staying in Islamabad and is en route to the airport, from where they will be deported to Saudi Arabia, officials and witness said.

B.K. Bangash/AP

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Early Friday morning Pakistani authorities deported 14 members of Osama bin Laden’s family to Saudi Arabia, bringing an awkward period that started with the discovery and killing of the world's most wanted man, to a close.

“The whole affair has been long and confusing. So naturally, we're all glad to see that it's over. And the family is happy to be home,” says Muhammad Aamir Khalil, the bin Laden family lawyer.

The deportation ends months of speculation about the fate of Osama bin Laden’s three widows and 11 children and grandchildren, who were detained by Pakistani security forces after the raid on the bin Laden’s compound in the military garrison town of Abbottabad almost one year ago, on May 2.

It was still dark when a van pulled out of the pink-tiled white house that had served as a make-shift prison for nearly two months. With its curtains drawn, the van inched its way through a throng of journalists attempting to catch a glimpse of the bin Ladens. When the van finally broke free of the crowd, it headed for a chartered plane parked at the Islamabad Airport, to fly them to Saudi Arabia.

Despite his relief at seeing the case close, Mr. Khalil remains critical of the process.

“Whether the authorities like to admit it or not, the truth is that the bin Laden family had been illegally detained at least twice since US Navy Seals first killed Osama. First, for the eight-month period leading up to their official arrest in March. And now, for the past week. The authorities were supposed to deport them as soon as their prison sentence ended,” Khalil says.


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