At least five Saudi college students studying in America have been arrested on serious crimes, released on bail, and subsequently fled the country, apparently with the help of Saudi officials. The report comes from the Oregonian which highlights one of the stories from 2014:
In December 2014, a university student from Saudi Arabia was arrested in Monmouth and accused of raping a classmate after giving her marijuana and shots of Jack Daniel’s.
Bail was set at a half-million dollars. The judge ordered the student, Abdulaziz Al Duways, to turn over his passport to the private defense lawyer hired to represent him, according to court records and the Polk County District Attorney’s Office.
A few days later, an official from the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Los Angeles posted bail.
Al Duways disappeared.
Last month the Oregonian reported on a similar case that took place in 2017. A Saudi national named Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah was facing trial for hitting and killing Fallon Smart, a 15-year-old girl, with his car. Witnesses said Noorah swerved around traffic and hit Smart at close to 60 miles per hour and then fled the scene. He returned eventually and was arrested. But two weeks before his trial began, he disappeared.
The private car drove the 21-year-old Portland Community College student to a sand-and-gravel yard two miles away.
That’s where Noorah sliced off the tracking monitor he had worn around his ankle for months, according to interviews with federal authorities. He then discarded it at the scene before vanishing, leaving a victim’s family crushed and prosecutors furious and flummoxed.
Law enforcement officials now say they believe Noorah got an illicit passport and boarded a plane — likely a private carrier — to flee the country.
Despite unknowns in the ongoing investigation, officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service are all but certain who helped orchestrate the remarkable escape: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The other cases identified by the Oregonian all fit the same pattern. They were all men accused of serious crimes: rape, hit and run, child porn. They were all facing jail time and were bailed out by Saudi Arabia before disappearing. Four of the five even had the same defense attorney, someone named Ginger Mooney.
Sen. Ron Wyden has been pressing the Trump administration on what it is doing to get Noorah back so he can face justice. This looks like grandstanding connected to the Jamal Khashoggi case but Sen. Wyden has a point. There’s no extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia so once these men escape justice in the U.S., they are gone for good.
If this has happened in Oregon five times in the past several years, I have to assume it’s happening in other states as well. In fact, the Oregonian identified a similar case involving an accused rapist in Utah. This is something every state should be looking into. Saudi students don’t have diplomatic immunity and their government’s deep pockets shouldn’t be allowed to grant them a get-out-of-jail-free card any time they rape or kill a U.S. citizen.
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