Image: Omar bin Laden
Nasser Nasser  /  AP file
Omar Osama bin Laden, right, and his British-born wife Jane Felix-Brown, now known as Zaina Alsabah, speak during an interview in Cairo, Egypt.
updated 11/8/2008 12:39:30 PM ET 2008-11-08T17:39:30

Spain rejected a final appeal for asylum by a son of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and put him on a plane bound for Egypt, the Interior Ministry and a lawyer for the man said Saturday.

Omar Osama bin Laden and his British wife left Spain on a commercial flight Saturday afternoon, the day after his final appeal for asylum was rejected, lawyer Bianca Sharma told The Associated Press. She would not say which airline they were on.

"We fought to the last minute," Sharma said. "We used up every legal avenue and it wasn't possible (to stay)."

The younger bin Laden, 27, flew to Spain on Monday and spent the week in a transit area at Madrid's Barajas Airport. He claimed he would not be safe if returned to an Arab country.

Sharma described her client as a "beautiful person" who had "nothing to do with fanatics or terrorists." She said his petition was denied for political reasons, and that after arriving in Egypt he would eventually be returned to Saudi Arabia, where he holds citizenship.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba confirmed that bin Laden's son had been deported, saying his application for asylum did not meet any Spanish requirements. The Interior Ministry denied his bid for asylum on Wednesday, and turned back the appeal late Friday night.

The government says it usually seeks a recommendation from the U.N. refugee agency in asylum request cases, and that the agency had also recommended against asylum.

'Omar is very depressed'
Omar Osama bin Laden — one of the al-Qaida leader's 19 children — caused a tabloid storm last year after marrying a British woman, 52-year-old Jane Felix-Browne, who has since taken the name Zaina Alsabah.

In an interview with Spain's El Mundo newspaper before her husband's deportation, Felix-Browne said her husband was very upset about the possibility of being sent back.

"Omar is very depressed," she said. "He says it would be better to be dead."

The couple have been living in Cairo. The younger bin Laden has not renounced his father, but has said he wants to be an "ambassador for peace" between the Muslim world and the West.

Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding in the Pakistan-Afghan border region.

The younger bin Laden moved to Afghanistan with his father in 1996 after living with him in Sudan, and trained at an al-Qaida camp. But Omar has said he has not seen his father since he left Afghanistan in 2000 and returned to his homeland of Saudi Arabia.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments