UNITED NATIONS Almost two years after his death at the hands of U.S. special forces in Pakistan, a U.N. Security Council committee has removed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from its sanctions list, although an order freezing any assets of the Islamist extremist remains in place.
Bin Laden had been subjected to a travel ban and asset freeze since he was listed by the Security Council al-Qaeda sanctions committee on January 25, 2001. He was shot and killed on May 2, 2011 by U.S. forces who stormed his compound in Pakistan.
The U.N. committee said in a statement that bin Laden was officially removed from the sanctions list on February 21, but that countries must submit requests to unfreeze any of his assets.
Those countries must also "provide assurances to the Committee that the assets will not be transferred, directly or indirectly, to a listed individual, group, undertaking or entity, or otherwise used for terrorist purposes."
There are about 233 individuals and 63 entities or groups on the U.N. al Qaeda sanctions list. All individuals on the list are subject to asset freezes and an international travel ban.
Bin Laden's al Qaeda network was blamed for killing nearly 3,000 people when hijackers crashed commercial planes into New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington and a field in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.
The members of bin Laden's family in Pakistan were repatriated to Saudi Arabia in April, 2012 on humanitarian grounds. The Saudi government did not say how many there were, but previous reports suggested that three widows, seven children and four grandchildren were deported.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Eric Walsh)