Swiss grant citizenship to Osama bin Laden's half brother

The US accuses Osama bin Laden of masterminding embassy bombings in Africa Keystone Archive

Geneva's cantonal parliament has voted to grant Swiss citizenship to Yeslam bin Laden, the millionaire half-brother of Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden, who is accused by the United States of having masterminded bombings of two American embassies in Africa.

This content was published on May 11, 2001 - 16:09

Yeslam bin Laden's lawyers on Friday confirmed a newspaper report that Geneva's parliament had approved his naturalisation, overturning a decision by the cantonal government last September.

In a statement, bin Laden's lawyers said: "Mr Yeslam bin Laden is very grateful to Geneva's [parliament] for having restored his honour in rejecting the unfair and unjustified rumours spread against him in an anonymous way."

The parliament, whose 100 deputies have the final say, voted in a closed-door session on the Saudi businessman's application. Media reports say he has been living in Geneva for 20 years. His Saudi Investment Company has offices in the Swiss lakeside city.

A spokeswoman for parliament declined to comment, in line with policy not to reveal the result of closed-door votes.

The federal and communal authorities last year gave the go-ahead for bin Laden to become a Swiss citizen, saying there was nothing compromising in his file. But the decision was vetoed by Geneva's cantonal government.

Osama Bin Laden allegedly masterminded twin blasts at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people in August 1998. Four of his followers are on trial in New York charged with scheming to kill Americans.

swissinfo with agencies

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