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Tuesday
May102011

Osama Bin Laden's Sons Say US Broke Law in Killing Their Father

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- 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 Omar bin Laden, said Osama bin Laden had been 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," said 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 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.

Last week, after the raid that killed Omar 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."

A version of the statement was given to The New York Times by Jean Sasson, the American author who co-wrote Omar bin Laden's memoir, Growing Up bin Laden, which was published in 2009. Another version was posted on the Arabic language website mafa.asia.

In his book, Omar describes himself as a romantic during his coming of age in the wilds of Tora Bora, Afghanistan. He dreamed of following his older brother Abdullah's example, marrying a Bin Laden cousin and living in the quiet comfort his father left behind in Saudi Arabia.

"I spent hours thinking about a certain cousin, a pretty and sweet girl…imagining us falling in love, getting married, and living in a lovely home filled with sweet-faced children," he wrote, tuning a small radio to hear the love songs of Um Kulthum as part of a "desperate need to create a new life."

When he was interviewed by ABC News in early 2010, Omar had a chilling warning for those who were hunting his father. He said that if his father were killed, the worst might lie ahead. America might face a broader and more violent enemy, with nothing to keep them in check.

"From what I knew of my father and the people around him I believe he is the most kind among them, because some are much, much worse," said bin Laden. "Their mentality wants to make more violence, to create more problems."

Omar turned his back on his father's philosophy even though his father had picked him to succeed him as the leader of jihad.

"Attacking peaceful people is not being fair, it is unacceptable," bin Laden told ABC News. "If you have a problem with armies or governments you should fight those people. This is what I find unacceptable in my father's way."

But bin Laden was confident at the time that despite the $25 million bounty on his father's head, his father wouldn't be caught.

"It's been 30 years now since he started fighting there," said Omar. "Who could catch him? No one."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio