Pakistani authorities have brought charges against Osama bin Laden's three widows, Reuters reported today. The women and their children have been in detention since last May, when United States commandos raided their house and killed bin Laden, MSNBC reported. The children will not be charged.
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The widows are charged with illegally entering and living in Pakistan. Pakistan had previously said that it would allow the women to return to their home countries. But the interior ministry told NBC News that the plan came to a halt when the women didn't have passports or other documentation.
The women and their 10 children are currently staying in a house which has been "declared a sub-jail," BBC News reported. The widows will have to stand trial and would probably spend a maximum of five years in prison, the Associated Press reported.
The BBC said that Pakistani authorities are embarrassed that bin Laden managed to live in Pakistan for nearly five years before being caught. A Pakistani commission began investigating in June how the al-Qaeda leader remained undetected for so long.
"Pakistan may have taken this step to put questions about the fate of the women to rest, and send a message to the world that Pakistanis are not as protective of bin Laden and his family as many believe," the BBC said.
A retired Pakistani army officer told the Daily Mail today that the widows had "jealously vied for the al-Qaeda leader’s affections" when he was alive.