Home » important » Call for probe into claim Saudi helped citizen escape US justice
Call for probe into claim Saudi helped citizen escape US justice

Call for probe into claim Saudi helped citizen escape US justice

A senior US Senator has called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to clarify if Saudi Arabia helped a citizen of that country flee the US ahead of his manslaughter trial.
In a letter on Friday, Senator Ron Wyden expressed concern over a local media report that claimed the Saudi government may have issued a new passport to its citizen Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, accused of a hit-and-run killing in the western US state of Oregon, in order to help him escape justice.
The letter came after the Oregonian newspaper reported that US investigators believe Noorah, who was released on bail, fled the country in June last year on a private air plane using a Saudi government-issued passport under a different name.
Noorah was facing a 10 year jail sentence if he had been found guilty in the death of 15-year-old Fallon Smart, who was killed when a car plowed into her in August 2016.
The 21-year-old had his passport confiscated following his arrest and was required to wear an electronic bracelet on his ankle following his release on bail.
But he cut the tracking device two days weeks before his trial and fled.
The former Portland Community College student arrived in Saudi Arabia days after leaving the US and was now living there, the newspaper reported.
It also said that it was Saudi authorities who had provided Noorah the $100,000 required to post bail.
“These are shocking claims in any event, but with the barbaric murder of US resident Jamal Khashoggi, they suggest a brazen pattern of disregard for the law and abuse of diplomatic privileges,” he said, referring to the killing of the Saudi dissident in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October.
“These claims must be thoroughly investigated. If they are accurate they would require significant restrictions on Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic privileges and call into question the future of America’s bilateral relationship with the Saudis,” he added.
Noorah had been a student in Portland since 2014, according to the Oregonian, and had received a $1850 stipend from the Saudi government for living expenses while he was living in the US.
The Saudi government informed the US of Noorah’s return to Saudi Arabia in July.
The two countries do not have an extradition treaty, which means that the chances of Noorah facing justice in the US is low.
Saudi Arabia has come under increased scrutiny from the US senate following Khashoggi’s killing by Saudi officials in the country’s consulate.
Earlier this month, the Senate passed a resolution accusing the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the murder, and called for an end to US military support for a Riyad-led war in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia denounced the resolution as “blatant interference”.