Zakarya Al-Sada, Bin Laden’s brother-in-law, is 24 years old and a pro-change protester
What’s Amal situation in the light of the political crises in Yemen; how is it affecting her return?
After we discovered that Amal was in Pakistan I went to the Pakistani embassy in Sana’a – I visited them several times to get information about Amal’s situation there and also contacted the foreign affairs ministry who expressed their willingness in demanding Amal’s return, since she is a Yemeni citizen.
The ministry urged us to contact the Yemeni Ambassador in Islam Abad as the Pakistani government had previously vowed to send Bin Laden’s wives back to their countries.
But the current situation in Yemen makes us worry even more. Terrorism is a term that became a stereotype of Yemenis, and since the ruler and his opponents are trying to stick that name to each other, each of them have decided to be silent against our issue – though they know that we have nothing to do with Bin Laden’s group aside from this marriage.
I used to be one of the peaceful youth protesters, calling for change and democracy and to establish a civil society but after the news of Bin Laden’s death I decided not to attend the protest.
We are in country where making up an accusation against someone is the easiest thing to do and my biggest fear was that someone might accuse me of terrorism to defame the revolution by using the fact that I am Bin Laden’s brother-in-law and a protester.
I want human rights organizations to get involved, for sure, but it’s difficult to find neutral human right organizations nowadays.
I have to make it clear to them that the case of my sister Amal and her children is purely humanitarian – it shouldn’t be used by any of the parties against the other. It should be looked at by all the human rights NGOs and all political parties as a human rights case so they can help us to get her back.
What’s your next step to get her back?
The best way to get her back is via diplomatic demands from the Yemeni embassy in Islam Abad, as well as some individual initiative by me to speak to the Pakistani prime minister to get him to follow up on my sister’s situation.
I was about to travel to Pakistan myself to search for her – and I started the travel procedure – but the Pakistani ambassador advised me not to go as I would be wasting my time. He said I couldn’t do more than they are already doing. He also vowed to meet the head of the investigation committee that the Pakistani government has assigned to follow up on Bin Laden’s family.
I’m also focusing on cooperating with local and international NGOs, especially those international NGOs that do work in seeking human rights. We really hope they won’t let us down.
So you have not spoken to her by phone yet, how do you get news on her then?
We haven’t spoken to her since she had her first baby “Safia” before the war against Afghanistan.
We used to follow up her news through asking wives of deceased fighters’ wives who returned to Yemen after their husbands were killed. For many years now no one gave us any useful information that could lead us to my sister.
Even now that Bin Laden has been killed we still haven’t spoken to her, although we often ask to reduce our family’s fear over what might have happened to her.
I have demanded that the Yemeni ambassador in Islam Abad talks with her – he told me the Pakistani authorities promised him he could, but until this very moment this promise hasn’t happened.
All the information we have comes from the Yemenis and the Pakistanis assuring us that her health is in good condition.
What are the Yemeni embassy’s efforts so far regarding Amal Al-Sada?
The Yemeni embassy is doing good work and we really appreciate it, especially that the ambassador demanded Amal’s return to her country and treated her case honestly – as a Yemeni citizen and didn’t link it to terrorism,
He called me and vowed that Amal and her children will be back, so we are waiting.
Although his effort is good, we condemn the fact that they couldn’t let us talk to her and the mystery around her situation. We have no details, only promises.
In a statement you warned the press of dealing with a person who appears as a relative of Amal, would you tell us more about that?
Yes I warned against some people who appear on TV and in newspapers claiming that they are family members so I released a statement to clarify the political situation in Yemen, which might make it easy for some people to take advantage and use our name to defame our situation.
This defamation will only ruin any deal to get us back our sister. I think that these people are paid by suspicious parties to use our cause to serve political aims and show the world that Yemen is dangerous.
One of these characters is Waleed al-Sadah. This man has tried to get fame using his surname, which is same as ours. He says obvious things about us that anyone would know, and he said that we are sympathetic to Bin Laden and that Amal would prefer to die now.
Some big TV channels have bought him tickets and given him money to be on their shows even though we made it clear that he isn’t related to us. What makes us scared is that he will go on TV and lie the way he does.
Have you ever faced any troubles because of your sister’s marriage?
There were some failed attempts to recruit me by suspicious parties, who might even be related to security. They even created false information about me and made up stories that my father fled to Afghanistan as he refused to turn himself in to the Yemeni government; others said that we had armed clashes for days with security forces in our city Ibb.
Who would benefit from creating obstacles to Amal’s return to Yemen?
As I said, the only benefiters are those trying to use us in the name of terrorism. But that will be difficult as everybody in Yemen knows our beliefs and thoughts – and that this marriage was a normal thing.
How optimistic are you that Amal will be back?
We are so optimistic that Amal and her children will return as women and children have nothing to do with terrorism.
And because we believe that our cause is humanitarian; the world shouldn’t look at Muslims, Arabs or Yemenis as terrors but as people who believe in peace.