UPDATE: Osama Bin Laden's Son Escapes to Spain, Asks for Political Asylum


UPDATE:
Omar Bin Laden has been denied asylum by the Spanish government. Bin Laden has claimed that he is no longer safe in any Arab country. Spanish officials have stated that they believe his asylum request was just an effort to drum up publicity for a new book Omar is releasing about the years he spent with his father, notorious terrorist Osama Bin Laden. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has voiced support for Spain's decision in an initial report. Omar has hired a local lawyer and filed an appeal, which could delay a final decision on the asylum request for another two months.

Osama Bin Laden's 20 year old son stepped off a plane in Madrid, Spain late Monday evening during a layover and asked to stay, according to reports by CNN and a statement by the spokeswoman for Spain's interior ministry. Omar Bin Laden has publicly called on his father to abandon violence and terrorism in the past and has declared himself to be a pacifist. He was still at the airport Tuesday, preparing a formal asylum request with a translator and Spanish officials.

"I try and say to my father: 'Try to find another way to help or find your goal. This bomb, this weapons, it's not good to use it for anybody,' " he told CNN in English learned in recent months from his British wife. He was previously denied asylum by Britain, although he is married to a British citizen. He currently holds a Saudi Passport.

There was no indication as to what grounds Omar Bin Laden's plea for political asylum would be based on. Spain's Interior Ministry will have 72 hours to review and decide Bin Laden's status. They have indicated that they will seek advice from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees before making a final decision. It has been historically difficult to gain this kind of asylum in Spain—last year the country received nearly 8,000 requests, yet granted only around 600 of them. If Spain agrees to Omar Bin Laden's asylum request he will be issued an identity card and be allowed to leave the airport. If not, he has 24 hours to appeal before he is returned on a plan to Cairo, Egypt, where his flight originated.

What do you think? Should Omar Bin Laden be held accountable for the actions of his family and father, or should he be granted poltiical asylum from Spain?

 

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Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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