Three wives and two adult daughters were officially arrested on March 3 and charged with illegal entry and stay on April 13. Though none of the children were charged – they were under the legal age limit – the five women were sentenced to 45 days imprisonment. They served that sentence in a five-bedroom Islamabad villa. That sentence ended on Wednesday last week, at which point they were set to leave the country.
According to the country's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, the deportation had been delayed because neither Saudi Arabia nor Yemen had yet to hear whether and how Saudi Arabia would receive the families.
Khalil, who also works with the Embassy of Yemen, dismissed those explanations.
“The Yemeni ambassador laughed when he heard the excuse,” Khalil says.
Saudi Arabia's willingness to accept the bin Laden family remained an open question until early this morning. Osama bin Laden had been stripped of his citizenship in 1994, and it was unclear whether the country would welcome the bin Ladens home. An anonymous source involved with the bin Laden family case informed the Monitor that Osama bin Laden's brother had played a key role in smoothing out relations with the Saudi Arabian government. He had negotiated with Saudi Arabia on behalf of the family.