Kingdom says Iman Bin Ladens repatriation a humanitarian issue

The spokesman, Osama Nugali, confirmed, however, that the 17-year-old has arrived in Syria with her mother and is in “good health and spirits.”
“The repatriation of Iman is not a political issue,” said Nugali, referring to media reports that have surfaced since her escape from a family compound near Tehran to the Saudi Embassy in the hopes of leaving Iran.
The spokesman said he does not want to comment further on her repatriation or diplomatic efforts. She is free to travel to Saudi Arabia, said Nugali, when asked whether Iman will return to the Kingdom or stay in Damascus.
Iman was issued a “travel permit” from the Saudi Embassy in Tehran a few weeks ago. Her departure was, however, delayed as the negotiations between the two sides took some time.
Iman, along with several of her siblings and one of Osama Bin Laden’s wives, was allegedly under house arrest for several years in Iran, possibly since 2001.
Iman left Iran for Damascus on a commercial flight on Thursday together with her mother, Najwa Al-Ghanem, Osama Bin Laden’s first wife. Nugali said Saudi officials were in talks with Iran to repatriate Iman after she took refuge in the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
He quoted Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal as saying that “the issue is a humanitarian one and the Kingdom was negotiating with the Iranian government on this basis.”
One of Iman’s brothers, Omar Bin Laden, said he did not know “how to repay” Prince Saud’s sympathy and efforts. “I spoke to Prince Saud a number of times about my sister Iman, and he always assured and supported me,” Omar said in a statement.
“I felt the compassion of a father or big brother whenever I spoke to Prince Saud,” he added.
He also praised the efforts of the prince’s aides and diplomats at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. “I, on behalf of my family, would like to thank the Saudi Embassy for their generosity and support in hosting my sister Iman for over 100 days,” he said.
A number of Bin Laden family members reportedly fled to Iran in 2001, not long after the Sept. 11 attacks. Omar was the first to reveal that six of his siblings, his step mother Umm Hamza, and 11 of Bin Laden’s grandchildren had been under house arrest in the Iranian capital since the end of 2001.

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