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Sibling would fund Bin Laden defence

YESLAM Binladen, one of Osama Bin Laden’s half-brothers last week revealed that he would pay for the terror mastermind’s defence should he ever be captured.

YESLAM Binladen, one of Osama Bin Laden’s half-brothers last week revealed that he would pay for the terror mastermind’s defence should he ever be captured.

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

Yeslam said he believed his half-brother, thought to be in the rocky mountains along the Afghan-Pakistan border, was still alive. “I don’t think he’s dead,” he said.

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

Yeslam and Osama are among 54 sons and daughters of the late Saudi construction magnate Mohammed Bin Laden, who had 22 wives. Yeslam, 54, is six years older than Osama and said his brothers and sisters feared their father, a Saudi of Yemeni origin, who used to beat them. His mother was Iranian; Osama’s was Syrian.

Yeslam condemned the 2001 terror attacks in the United States and said he issued a statement following the attacks, condemning “all kinds of violence”. He added that Osama had not left Saudi Arabia to study abroad like most of his brothers.

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

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, who was granted Swiss citizenship in 2001, intentionally spells his name differently from his half-brother, the prime suspect in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s interior minister, Aftab Khan Sherpao, said that Al Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden and his top aide could be hiding in southeastern Afghanistan, where remnants of the ousted Taliban militia are re-emerging and which is not “under effective control of the Afghan government”.

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