Spain expected to reject bin Laden son's asylum request

Other News Materials 5 November 2008 17:09 (UTC +04:00)

Spain is likely to reject an application for political asylum lodged by Omar bin Laden, one of the 19 children of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the daily El Pais reported Wednesday.

Omar bin Laden, 27, requested asylum at Madrid airport on Monday, reported dpa.

His plane made a stopover in Madrid while flying from Cairo to Casablanca in Morocco.

Bin Laden 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.

The Spanish authorities were to take a decision partly on the basis of a report provided by the Spanish office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Bin Laden was likely to see his application rejected, El Pais quoted knowledgeable sources as saying.

There were no precedents for Saudi citizens being granted asylum in the past five years, the sources said.

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.

If the asylum request is rejected, bin Laden can appeal against the decision.

Omar bin Laden, who has worked as a metal trader, has publicly urged his father to abandon terrorism.