The US Department of Homeland Security and Marshals Service has accused Riyadh of helping Saudi national Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, who is charged with killing a teenager in an Oregon hit-and-run case, return to his home country in 2017, weeks before his trial, according to The Oregonian.
The newspaper cited law enforcement officials as saying that the Saudi government had allegedly issued Noorah an illicit passport, probably under a different name, and that he fled on board a private plane.
The Oregonian also referred to the Saudi consulate, which ostensibly helped Noorah pay his $100,000 bail to contribute to his release.
This summer, Riyadh reportedly told Homeland Security that Noorah had returned to Saudi Arabia in June 2017, but declined to provide additional details.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get him back”, Eric Wahlstrom, a supervisory deputy US marshal in Oregon, was quoted by The Oregonian as saying. The US and Saudi Arabia do not have an extradition treaty, which is why many are sceptical about Moorah being brought to US court.
The lawyer of victim’s family described the information that the Saudi government may have helped Noorah escape prosecution as “trauma on top of trauma”.
“It begs the question: Why isn’t the Saudi government respecting our justice system? It’s reprehensible”, Chris Larsen underscored.
23-year-old Noorah is accused of killing 15-year-old Fallon Smart, in Portland, Oregon, in August 2016. The fatal incident took place when the man was reportedly speeding his Lexus through a crossing at up to 60mph (96km/h).
The Noorah case comes after the US Senate blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for ordering the killing of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. On October 2, Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
On October 26, the Saudi prosecutor general acknowledged that the journalist’s murder was premeditated. However, Riyadh maintains that the killing had nothing to do with the Saudi royal family, describing it as a rogue operation.