The sons of Osama bin Laden have issued a statement that accuses the U.S. of violating international law by killing an unarmed man and dumping his body in the ocean.
The statement, which was prepared by an attorney and attributed to Omar bin Laden and his siblings, notes that both Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein were tried in courts of law, and says Osama bin Laden was denied the presumption of innocence and a fair trial. It said the "assassination" of Osama bin Laden "blatantly violated" international law.
"We maintain that arbitrary killing is not a solution to political problems," says the statement. The message, which also asks the Pakistani government to release the bin Laden wives and children currently in custody, is titled "A Statement from the Sons of bin Laden," but it is only signed by Omar. It also says bin Laden's sons do not believe President Obama's account of the operation that killed their father and would be following up with both U.S. and international courts.
"We ... demand an inquiry," says the statement, "[into] the accuracy of the facts as stated by the United States into the fundamental question of why our father was not arrested and tried but summarily executed."
Two versions of the statement have been issued, including a shorter version posted on the Arabic language website mafa.asia. Though the statement says it is from Omar and "my brothers, the lawful children and heirs of Osama bin Laden," it is signed by Omar alone.
Last week, after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, his son Khalid and three other people, Attorney General Eric Holder stressed that the mission was legal. "Let me make something very clear," said Holder. "The operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed was lawful. He was the head of al Qaeda, an organization that conducted the attacks of September the 11th. He admitted his involvement."
Omar bin Laden, 30, has not lived with his father since 1999, when he and his mother, Najwa bin Laden, left him in Afghanistan. Omar has denounced violence, and the message includes a reminder that Omar had made clear to Osama that he "always disagreed with [him] regarding any violence."
"As [Omar] condemned our father, we now condemn the president of the United States for ordering the execution of unarmed women and children."
In an additional personal statement, dictated to Jean Sasson, who helped him write his 2009 memoir "Growing up bin Laden," Omar bin Laden expressed the "sincere upset" that his family is experiencing at the news of Osama's death.
"As a young Islamic child," said the statement, "[Omar] and his siblings had to obey and follow their father's instructions, irrespective of how this affected them personally. This included several upheavals and re-locations, into environments that caused Omar, his mother and siblings great upset and danger."
"As with all young people, the coming of age and the entering of adulthood is marked by the individual making life's decisions for themselves. Omar's first two decisions on becoming an adult, were firstly, that the course of action his father was taking was not correct for him, irrespective of what his father's wishes were. Secondly he asked his father for permission, for not just his own departure but also that of his mother and younger siblings from his father's life."
Omar bin Laden underlines that he is also upset at the course of action that his father and his father's followers chose, "because of the untold grief that such action has had on the famlies of both sides since this action started."