Bin Laden wives and children deported to Saudi Arabia

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Media captionAleem Maqbool witnessed the family leaving the villa in Islamabad

The three widows and children of Osama Bin Laden have been deported to Saudi Arabia from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, officials say.

It follows a year in Pakistani custody since the death of the al-Qaeda leader.

The three widows, who are believed to have 11 children, left the house in a minibus amid tight security to board a special flight to the Gulf kingdom.

Bin Laden was killed by US special forces a year ago in the north-west Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

Pakistani police used sheets to obscure the view as Bin Laden's wives and children got on board a minivan at their Islamabad residence.

They were detained immediately after the pre-dawn raid in which he was killed on 2 May 2011.

His wives and two eldest children were eventually charged with staying in Pakistan illegally, and last week completed a 45-day term of imprisonment at the villa.

The widows were held at the house in the capital which was designated as a "sub-jail", and all the rest of their children stayed with them.

They were also sentenced to deportation.

The Ministry of the Interior, which was responsible for the family, issued a statement saying it had "passed orders for the deportation of 14 members of OBL family in pursuance of the Court orders".

"The family was kept safe and sound in a guest house... They have been deported to the country of their choice, Saudi Arabia, today," it added.

Secrets untold

The two oldest wives are Saudi Arabian, but the youngest - Amal Abdulfattah - is Yemeni and it is believed she will travel on to that country.

It is from leaks of her interrogations with Pakistani intelligence agencies that the most insight into Bin Laden's time in Pakistan has been gained, says the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad.

The al-Qaeda leader moved from place to place for up to 10 years before finally being killed in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

But many more secrets will go untold with the Bin Laden family, our correspondent says.

On one hand, the Pakistani authorities will be glad to close another chapter of what was an extremely embarrassing episode - on the other, they may be worried about what could be revealed by the family now about life on the run with the world's most wanted man.