IMAGE: Yeslam Binladin
Laurent Gillieron  /  Keystone via AP file
Osama bin Laden's half-brother Yeslam Binladin poses at the Saudi Investment Company headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in this Nov. 14, 2001, file photo.
updated 7/4/2005 9:41:14 AM ET 2005-07-04T13:41:14

One of Osama bin Laden’s half brothers said he would pay for the terror mastermind’s defense should he ever be captured, Yeslam Binladin said in a broadcast interview.

“For sure,” Yeslam Binladin responded when asked if he would help pay. “Everyone has the right to defend himself, anyone who is accused of doing something.”

Yeslam and Osama are among 54 sons and daughters of the late Saudi construction magnate Mohammed bin Laden, who had 22 wives. Yeslam said he believed his half brother, thought to be hiding in the rugged mountains along the Afghan-Pakistan border, was still alive.

“I don’t think he’s dead,” he said in the interview recorded on May 28 that aired Sunday on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite television station.

When asked why U.S. forces had still not been able to track bin Laden down, Yeslam responded: “I don’t know, ask them.”

Condemning 'all kinds of violence'
Yeslam, at 54, is six years older than Osama. His mother was Iranian; Osama’s was Syrian. In the interview Yeslam said his brothers and sisters feared their father, a Saudi of Yemeni origin, who used to beat them.

Yeslam was educated in Lebanon and the United States and returned to Saudi Arabia after graduating from college. He said he spent some time with Osama in Saudi Arabia from 1978-1981 before Osama went to fight alongside other mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He did not mention seeing Osama after that.

Yeslam condemned the 2001 terror attacks in the United States and said he issued a statement following the attacks, condemning “all kinds of violence.”

Yeslam said that Osama, who had not left Saudi Arabia to study abroad like most of his brothers “was more religious than the rest.”

“Osama didn’t like music or TV and banned his kids from them,” Yeslam said. “I grew up thinking this is weird, but he’s free in his household and I’m free in mine.”

Yeslam, who was granted Swiss citizenship in 2001, intentionally spells his name differently from his half brother, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

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