Osama's asylum request


The Times of London reports that in 1995 Osama Bin Laden sought asylum in Great Britain which was denied.  

HE CLAIMS to hate everything the West stands for. But yesterday it emerged that Osama bin Laden sought asylum in Britain even as he was planning the September 11 attacks on the US.

The al—Qaeda leader wanted to abandon his base in Sudan at the end of 1995 and asked some of his followers in London to sound out whether he would be able to move to Britain. 
Michael Howard, who was then Home Secretary, recalls how his aides told him of the asylum request from the Saudi—born militant of whom the world knew little of ten years ago. A number of his brothers and other relatives, all members of the wealthy bin Laden construction empire, owned properties in London by the mid—1990s.

The teenage bin Laden had reportedly toured Europe with his family and became an Arsenal fan, though there is no record of his ever having been to a match at Highbury.

The astonishing approach to the British authorities happened only months after bin Laden had secretly organised a terror summit in Manila in January 1995 to begin planning how hijackers would turn passenger planes into flying bombs. He called it the 'Bojinka plot', which is Arabic slang for an explosion. (more)[/quote]

His request was denied. Interestingly, as the article notes, had it been granted, the U.S. would not have been able to extradite him to try him here because British law forbids the extradition of a person to a country where he would be subject to capital punishment.

Aside from the absurdity of the European extradition rules when we consider the murder of 3,000 civilians, imagine the tensions that such an outcome would have on Anglo—U.S. relations.

Clarice Feldman   9 29 05