Documents published Friday by Wikileaks show that Osama bin Laden‘s son Abdullah tried unsuccessfully to obtain a death certificate for his father’s 2011 death.
Two letters chronicle Abdullah bin Laden’s quest for a certificate that would allow him to inherit the al-Qaida leader’s property in Saudi Arabia. Wikileaks released over 60,000 documents Friday in cooperation with Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, part of what it claims is a file of “over half a million” documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry.
A September 2011 letter to Abdullah bin Laden from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh responds to a request for a death certificate from the U.S. government. Glen Keiser, the Consul General in Riyadh, politely tells Abdullah that no such document exists for Osama bin Laden, and that the lack of issuance is “regular practice for individuals killed in the course of military operations.” (RELATED: Here’s An Al-Qaida Job Application)
But Keiser apparently sent bin Laden other evidence of his father’s death. The Department of Justice dismissed its formal criminal case against Osama bin Laden after U.S. Special Forces killed him in May 2011, and Keiser alludes to including a copy of the “sworn declaration of facts supporting the conclusion that Usama bin Laden was killed.”
He concludes his letter to the terrorist mastermind’s son, “I hope that these U.S. Government documents are of assistance to you and your family.”
Abdullah then turned to the Saudi royal court. In a May 2012 letter to the deputy foreign affairs minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, he described the situation that has kept him from receiving direct legal proof of his father’s death. Presenting a copy of Keiser’s letter, he writes that “Due to our urgent need for… proof of legal inheritance, we need ratification by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the [U.S.] embassy’s attached statement, to be able to submit it to the General Court in Jeddah.”
“We hope that Your Highness,” he writes in Arabic, “will have praiseworthy graciousness to those who require ratification of the embassy’s statement.”
No response from the Foreign Ministry is immediately apparent in Wikileaks’ release.
Osama bin Laden’s family came to public attention last month, when the U.S. Director of National Intelligence released copies of documents from in the al-Qaida leader’s compound. Among them was a love letter from another son, Saad, to his wife — which many American news outlets misattributed to Osama bin Laden himself. (RELATED: Nobody In The News Knows How Arabic Names Work)
Al-Akhbar, Wikileaks’ “media partner” in releasing the purported Saudi cables, will begin publishing more documents on Saturday.