Last Updated: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:53 pm (KSA) 09:53 am (GMT)

Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law challenges criminal charges against his sister

Brother in Law of Osama bin Laden, Zakarya Ahmed Abdalfattah, and his lawyer, Mohammad Amir, coming out of the court room. (Courtesy of Dawn newspaper)
Brother in Law of Osama bin Laden, Zakarya Ahmed Abdalfattah, and his lawyer, Mohammad Amir, coming out of the court room. (Courtesy of Dawn newspaper)

Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law has challenged a Pakistani court’s decision to register a criminal case against his sister and children of the slain al-Qaeda leader on Tuesday, a newspaper reported.

Zakarya Ahmed Abdalfattah, younger brother of Bin Laden widow Amal Abdalfattah, named both Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and interior and defense secretaries as respondents in his petition saying authorities could not register a criminal case against his sister and her five minor children — Safiah, Asia, Ibraheem, Zainab and Hussain — because they were living in Pakistan like millions of Afghans who had migrated to the country during the Afghan war, the Pakistan-based newspaper, Dawn, reported on Wednesday.

Abdalfattah’s lawyer, Mohammad Aamir Khalil, challenged the registration of the criminal case under sections 13 and 14 of the country’s Foreign Act and sections 212 and 419 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Khalil said sections 13 and 14 of the Foreign Act could not apply to Abdalfattah’s sister and her children because “because the matter of a foreign national entering and living in Pakistan [is] related to political and foreign affairs,” the newspaper said.

The charges carry a minimum punishment of three years in prison.

The lawyer also said that Section 212 did not apply since Abdalfattah’s sister was living with her husband and, therefore, could not be charged with harboring a criminal because she had not given refuge in her house to a third person. Another section, 419 of the PPC, relating to fake identities also could not be invoked because she had not introduced herself with fake identity.

Islamabad High Court which raised some minor objections about maintainability of the petition fixed a hearing on Wednesday under auspices of Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman.

During the petition, Abdalfattah expressed reservations over the trial by Civil Judge Shahrukh Arjumand who was the first in conducting hearings in the trial of Bin Laden’s widows.

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