Saudi Arabia is believed to have aided the escape of one of its citizens from the U.S. after he was charged in a fatal hit-and-run -- and that extraction may not have been a one-time occurrence.
Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah fled America to his home country of Saudi Arabia after he was charged in the death of a 15-year-old girl in August 2016. Saudi Arabia helped Noorah bond out of jail and obtain a passport so he could leave the country, officials said, and the Kingdom didn’t make Noorah’s whereabouts known until June 2018.
The Oregonian on Sunday identified four other cases in which Saudi Arabia helped its own get out of legal binds. The five cases were all similar – all men who were studying at a university or college in Saudi Arabia, all disappeared while facing jail time and all of their current whereabouts are relatively unknown.
“This is even more evidence that the Saudi government has acted to help its citizens escape justice for crimes committed in Oregon,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told The Oregonian.
Abdulaziz Al Duways, Waleed Ali Alharthi, Suliman Ali Algwaiz and Ali Hussain Alhamoud were all identified as receiving help from Saudi Arabia to flee the U.S. amid criminal investigations.
Al Duways was accused of rape at Western Oregon University in December 2014 after he allegedly gave a woman marijuana and shots of whiskey, according to the newspaper. When police arrived at the scene, the woman was crying in the man’s bed and he reportedly told her to tell police she was his girlfriend.
He was charged with first-degree rape, his bail was set at $500,000 and he was ordered to hand over his passport, The Oregonian reported, citing court records. Days later, the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles posted 10 percent of his bail so he could be released from jail. Soon after, he disappeared.
Alharthi was studying at Oregon State University when authorities say they found dozens of child porn videos on his computer, the newspaper reported. He was charged with 10 counts of first-degree encouraging child sex abuse in August 2014. The Saudi consulate in Los Angeles paid his bail.
Days after he failed to show up for a status check in April 2015, officials discovered he left Oregon for Mexico City and boarded a plane for Paris a week later, according to The Oregonian.
Algwaiz, a Portland State University student, pleaded no contest in August 2016 to third-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants. He was drunk when he struck and injured a homeless man as he was driving the wrong way down a street, police said.
He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which he was allowed to serve on weekends, The Oregonian reported. He managed to recover his passport from Portland police in September 2016 and days later disappeared. Noorah disappeared around the same time as Algwaiz.
Alhamoud, an Oregon State University student at the time, was indicted on multiple sex-crime charges, including first-degree rape in February 2012. The Saudi government had bailed him out of jail and he fled the country the same day, the newspaper reported, citing a criminal complaint.
Wyden has called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for explanations in these cases.
“Secretary Pompeo and the Justice Department need to do a thorough investigation to determine the scope of this abuse of our justice system and start by answering the questions I asked,” he told The Oregonian.