Osama Bin Laden's Teen Daughter Allowed to Leave Iran

A son of Osama bin Laden believed killed by U.S. missile may be alive.

March 22, 2010, 11:37 AM

DUBAI, March 22, 2010 -- A teenage daughter of Osama Bin Laden has been released from Iran after years of house arrest and then months of living in the Saudi Arabian embassy, her family said.

Iman Bin Laden, 18, is now in Syria with her mother, Najwa Bin Laden, who went to Iran earlier this month to secure Iman's release.

The teenage daughter of the world's most wanted man spent 112 days in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran after escaping house arrest in a family compound.

"She looks healthy, and she's just adjusting to outside life," Zaina Bin Laden, Iman's sister-in-law, told ABC News. She said Iman was 7-years-old when she last saw her mother, and will now be homeschooled after a childhood without formal education.

Dozens of Osama Bin Laden's family members, including 11 grandchildren, have been held in Iran since fleeing Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2001. The bin Laden family has described their conditions as comfortable with frequent shopping trips, swimming pools, computers, and Playstation video games.

"The Iranian government has showed very good caring to my brothers and sisters. The only mistake is that until now they haven't been released," Omar Bin Laden, Osama's fourth-born son, told ABC News last month.

Omar said his family fled Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, orchestrated by his father. Iran held them for entering the country illegally and without proper identification documents. The family now says Iran is willing to let them go if there is an acceptable country to take them.

Iman made her way to the Saudi Embassy after escaping from a supervised shopping trip last year. "She was sick of living life in one house," said Zaina.

Saudi Arabia, home to the bin Laden clan, has fought for her release and for that of other bin Laden children despite having stripped Osama bin Laden of his Saudi citizenship in 1994. Iran has said it would not allow the captive bin Ladens to leave for Saudi Arabia, Omar told ABC News. The two countries have a diplomatic rivalry that has intensified with the policies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Omar asked the government of the United Arab Emirates today to intervene, given the country's diplomatic relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

"I want to ask the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the ruler of Dubai, since they have helped so much greater humanity, to take in my family. We ask them because we know they are very gentle people and our family has nowhere else to go," he told ABC News.

Omar has kept in touch with his family in Iran, speaking to his brother, Osman, who is living in the compound with his two wives. In his late twenties, Osman is the oldest of Osama's children being held in the Islamic Republic.

'Please, please don't let the world forget us. Let us be with our Mom,' Osman told Omar.

A bin Laden Son, Thought Killed in Pakistan, May Be Alive

Another of Osama bin Laden's sons has also called for his siblings' release in a statement that surface on the internet earlier this month. Khalid bin Laden said his family members in Iran have been beaten and locked up in detention facilities.

Omar bin Laden denied the allegations that Iran has abused his family. Until they heard of the statement, he was unaware Khalid was still alive.

Khalid's statement suggested that another sibling, Saad bin Laden, was also still alive. Saad is believed to be a member of al Qaeda. Last year American officials had said that they were 80-85 percent sure Saad bin Laden was killed in a U.S. missile attack on Pakistan.

This month al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the group's branch in Northern Africa, issued a threatening call on Iran to release the bin Ladens.

Omar bin Laden quickly denounced that message and its suggestion of violence.

"I, as the son of your leader, I am telling you that this case is mine alone," Omar bin Laden said. "I am in charge of it, I have full responsibility over all my brothers and sisters, wherever they may be."

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