The son of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said Sunday he has moved to Qatar after being prevented from entering Egypt and being denied political asylum by Spain, he told AlArabiya.net in an interview from Qatar.
Omar bin Laden said that Egyptian authorities had refused to renew his residency after it expired. "When I inquired about it, I was told I should return back to my country," he said. "I couldn't stay in Egypt illegally, so I decided to leave the country so as not to violate the Egyptian law."
He said that when he was in Spain he had received an offer from the American embassy there promising to grant him political asylum in Washington. "I preferred to travel to Qatar. I am happy now that I am living in an Arab and Muslim country. I will stay here until I get the British visa," Omar said.
Egyptian police said on Sunday they did not interrogate Omar bin Laden upon his arrival at Cairo International Airport, an Egyptian security source said.
"Omar bin Laden was not prevented from entering the country and was not questioned by the Egyptian Police," Cairo International Airport Security Chief Mohsen Fahham told AlArabiya.net.
"If he wants to return back to Egypt, he is welcomed. He decided to leave directly to Qatar after returning from a failed bid for political asylum in Spain," Fahham said, noting out that it was up to Omar to remain in Egypt or leave it.
If he wants to return back to Egypt, he is welcomed. He decided to leave directly to Qatar,
Cairo International Airport Security Chief Mohsen Fahham
Omar's English-born wife earlier told AFP that they were deported from Egypt after returning from a failed bid for political asylum in Spain, which turned down his request for political asylum on Saturday.
"The Spanish government said that Omar was safe in Egypt and so had a place to go, but when we arrived in Egypt they deported us," his wife Zaina Alsabah bin Laden said by telephone from a passenger plane at Cairo airport.
The 27-year-old Omar, one of the children of the fugitive founder of the al-Qaeda terror network, had appealed against Spain's refusal on Wednesday to grant him asylum after arriving in Madrid from Cairo.
But the Spanish authorities deemed that his security was not in danger and he returned late on Saturday to Cairo, where the couple met and have been living for several months.
Omar bin Laden, who has a Saudi passport, is the fourth child from Osama bin Laden's first marriage. His wife, 52, whom he married in 2007, is British, having changed her name from Jane Felix-Browne.
Omar trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan from age 14, but by 2000 became disillusioned with the Taliban’s fight, according to an interview on earlier this year on CNN, and left with the blessing of his father. But he said he did not know where his father was and did not think his father was a terrorist.
Omar said in a statement that he has not spoken to his father since 2000.
The couple, who met while horse riding, set up the "Al-Mirage" horse ranch just outside Cairo this spring and had planned to make a business out of arranging horse and camel back desert safaris from the ranch, which lies in the shadow of some of Egypt's lesser-known pyramids.
Zaina said on Sunday that she hoped they would be able to go to Britain in early 2009. In April Omar was denied entry to the United Kingdom, where his wife’s children live, over fears his presence would cause “considerable public concern.”