Spain rejects bin Laden son's asylum request
Omar bin Laden can appeal the decision but if he is rejected again, he will be expelled immediately.6 November 2008
MADRID - The Spanish Interior Ministry has rejected a request for political asylum by Omar bin Laden, one of the 19 children of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, media reported Thursday.
Omar bin Laden, 27, requested asylum at Madrid airport on Monday. He argued that he did not feel safe in Saudi Arabia, which he is a citizen of, or in Egypt, where he lives, or in any other Arab country.
His plane was making a stopover in Madrid while flying from Cairo to Casablanca in Morocco.
Spain based its rejection partly on a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Interior Ministry sources were quoted as saying.
An earlier report by El Pais had said Bin Laden was likely to see his application rejected.
There were no precedents for Saudi citizens being granted asylum in the past five years, the paper quoted knowledgeable sources as saying.
It might also be difficult for bin Laden, son of a wealthy Saudi family, to prove that he was under threat in Saudi Arabia, according to the daily.
Britain previously rejected an asylum request from bin Laden, who is married to a British citizen.
Bin Laden, who came to Spain with his wife, was being held in a security area at Madrid airport. Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Tuesday that the government would give him a response within 72 hours.
Bin Laden can appeal the decision, following which Spain would reconsider his case within two days. If the ministry then took another negative decision and the UNHCR issued another unfavourable report, bin Laden would be expelled immediately.
Omar bin Laden, who has worked as a metal trader, has publicly urged his father to abandon terrorism.
[dpa / Expatica]