NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 3/8/2012 1:02:55 PM ET 2012-03-08T18:02:55

Osama bin Laden's three widows have been charged with illegally entering and living in the country, Pakistan's interior minister said on Thursday.

The three have been in detention in Pakistan since May last year, when U.S. commandos raided the house where they, bin Laden and several children were staying.

The commandos killed the al-Qaida leader in a secret raid in the garrison town of Abbottabad in May last year after a decade-long manhunt.

NYT: Retired brigadier seeks to clarify Osama bin Laden's last days

"They (the wives) were presented before the court. After that, they are on judicial remand, and are being kept in a proper, legal manner," Minister Rehman Malik told reporters.

"Cases have been registered against the adults, not the children."

Two of the wives are Saudi nationals, and one is from Yemen, according to the Pakistani foreign ministry. The women, along with several children, were living in Pakistan without a visa.

Pakistan had previously said that it would repatriate the women to their home countries after a government commission probing the bin Laden raid had completed its questioning.

But NBC News reported that the interior ministry had encountered problems repatriating the women to Saudi Arabia and Yemen because they did not have passports or any other documentation.

Slideshow: After the raid: Inside bin Laden's compound (on this page)

According to the BBC, Malik said the children were free to return to their native countries if their mothers agreed.

Possible punishments unclear
Malik did not specify which court was dealing with the case, or where the women or children were being held. They will have to stand trial, but it was not clear what punishment they faced if convicted.

Malik did not say when they were charged.

The commission has interviewed the family members for clues about how the al-Qaida chief managed to stay in the country undetected.

The youngest widow, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, told Pakistani investigators in May that bin Laden and his family lived for five years in the compound in Abbottabad where he was killed.

Abdulfattah's brother, Zachariah al Sadah, was in Pakistan trying to secure her and her children's release, NBC News reported.

He has apparently complained to the Pakistani Supreme Court about the detention, saying the wives and children are being kept in two rooms and not allowed outside.

Video: Video captures demolition of bin Laden compound (on this page)

The raid on bin Laden's compound plunged the relationship between uneasy allies Pakistan and the United States to their lowest point since Islamabad joined Washington in the global war against militancy.

While the operation was hailed as a success in the United States, Pakistan reacted angrily, terming the raid a gross violation of its sovereignty.

More from msnbc.com and NBC News:

Follow us on Twitter: @msnbc_world

NBC News, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Photos: The compound

loading photos...
  1. Pakistani boys while demolition takes place on the compound where Osama bin Laden was slain in 2011 in the northwestern town of Abbottabad on Feb. 26, 2012.

    More photos from Abbottabad one year after Osama bin Laden (Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. An aerial view shows the residential area of Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. commandos. (Asif Hassan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A general view of the town of Abbottabad, May 6. Bin Laden was living in a large house close to a military academy in this garrison town, a two-and-a-half hour-drive from the capital, Islamabad. (Khaqan Khawer / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamaat-e-Islami rally to condemn the killing of bin Laden, in Abbottabad on May 6. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A Pakistani woman photographs her daughter on May , at a gate of the compound where bin Laden was caught and killed. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. School girls pass by armed Pakistani policemen guarding the sealed entrance to the compound in Abbottabad, May 5, in which bin Laden had been living. (MD Nadeem / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Part of a damaged helicopter rests in the compound after U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed bin Laden, May 2, in a photo made available on May 4. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Boys herd sheep past the compound where U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad May 5. (Akhtar Soomro / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pakistani security officials arrive at the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad on Wednesday, May 4. (Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Local residents gather outside a burned section of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad. (Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A Pakistani police officer gestures at a checkpoint along a road leading to a house where bin Laden was captured and killed in Abbottabad. Area residents were still confused and suspicious about bin Laden's death, which took place before dawn on Monday. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Pakistani children look out from a high vantage point at bin Laden's compound on Tuesday, May 3. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Pakistan army troops remove canvas screens from outside the compound's house. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Neighbors and news media gather around the compound, right, after authorities ease security around the property. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A satellite image, taken June 15, 2005, shows the Abbottabad compound, center, where bin Laden was killed in on Monday. (DigitalGlobe via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A Pakistani soldier secures the compound. (T. Mughal / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. The compound is seen in flames after it was attacked early May 2 in this still image taken from cellphone video footage. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Part of a damaged U.S. MH-60 helicopter lies the compound. The helicopter was destroyed by U.S. forces after a mechanical failure left it unable to take off. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A still image from video obtained by ABC News shows blood stains in the interior of the house where bin Laden was killed. (ABC News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Aerial views released by the Department of Defense show the area in Abbottabad in 2004, left, before the house was built, and in 2011, right. (Department of Defense via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. A graphic released by the Department of Defense shows the compound where bin Laden was killed. (Department of Defense via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Pakistani soldiers and police officers patrol near the house, background, where bin Laden had lived. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. The hideout of bin Laden is seen the day after his death. (Farooq Naeem / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Students look toward the compound from a nearby religious school in Abbottabad. (Faisal Mahmood / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Pakistani security officials survey the walls of the compound where bin Laden was killed. The outer walls were between 10 and 18 feet high. (MD Nadeem / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Pakistani soldiers stand guard near the compound May 2. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Boys collect pieces of metal from a wheat field outside bin Laden's house, seen in the background, on May 3. People showed off small parts of what appeared to be a U.S. helicopter that the U.S. says malfunctioned and was blown up by the American team as it retreated. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Pakistani security officials stand guard at the main entrance to the compound on May 3. (MD Nadeem / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. An image from video seized from the walled compound of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, and released by the U.S. Department of Defense, shows Osama bin Laden watching TV. He is said to have spent his last weeks in a house divided, amid wives riven by suspicions. On the top floor, sharing his bedroom, was his youngest wife and favorite. The trouble came when his eldest wife showed up and moved into the bedroom on the floor below. (Department of Defense via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image:
    Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (29) After the raid: Inside bin Laden's compound - The compound
  2. Image:
    Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (81) After the raid: Inside bin Laden's compound - World reaction
  3. Image: Protest against US drone strikes in Pakistan
    Shahzaib Akber / EPA
    Slideshow (154) Pakistan: A nation in turmoil - 2013
  4. Image: PAKISTAN-NEW YEAR
    Arif Ali / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (160) Pakistan: A nation in turmoil - 2012
  5. Image: A man, injured from the site of a bomb explosion, is brought to a hospital for treatment in Quetta
    Naseer Ahmed / Reuters
    Slideshow (193) Pakistan: A nation in turmoil - 2011
  6. Image: Supporters of various religious parties take a part in a rally in support of the Pakistani blasphemy law in Karachi
    Athar Hussain / Reuters
    Slideshow (123) Pakistan: A nation in turmoil - 2010
  1. Image: Activists of Pakistani Islamist organisa
    Tariq Mahmood / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (56) Pakistan: A nation in turmoil - 2009
  2. Image:
    Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (81) World reacts to death of Osama bin Laden - World reaction
  3. Image:
    Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (29) World reacts to death of Osama bin Laden - The compound
  4. Brian Fairrington / Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (23) Osama bin Laden is Dead

Video: Curfew enforced around bin Laden compound demolition

Timeline: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life

Considered enemy No. 1 by the U.S., the Saudi millionaire is the perpetrator behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Click on key dates to learn more about the founder of al-Qaida, an international terror network.

  1. BIN LADEN
    Rahimullah Yousafzai / AP
    Above: Timeline A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life
  2. Timeline Al-Qaida timeline

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

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