New documents show the FBI “almost certainly” thinks that the Saudi Arabian government illegally spirits its citizens out of the U.S. to avoid prosecution for serious crimes.
The documents, which were newly declassified, were obtained by the Oregonian/Oregon Live as part of an investigation that stemmed from, in part, the strange disappearance of a number of Saudi nationals who were accused of serious crimes and set to face trial in Oregon.
The Oregonian/OregonLive later investigated similar cases in at least seven other states — Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin — and Canada where Saudi nationals accused of serious crimes vanished.
The disappearances of Saudi nationals accused of serious crimes in the U.S. have been going on for decades without the intervention of American authorities, which were likely actively looking the other way.
The FBI believes that this clear “undermining the US judicial process” was done to avoid embarrassment to the kingdom, an ally of the U.S. and a country that has no extradition treaty with the U.S.
The documents, which were heavily redacted, were released after a bill was passed that requires the FBI to publicly disclose what it knows about the Saudi government’s suspected role in spiriting its citizens out of the U.S. to avoid prosecution for their crimes. The bill, which was proposed by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and signed by President Donald Trump last month.
The documents are the first public acknowledgement by the federal government about the role Saudi operatives have likely played in “vanishing” their citizens who in legal trouble in the U.S.
A year ago Clarion Project reported, based on a report by Oregon Live, about the case of Abdulaziz Al Duways, a Saudi student accused of raping a classmate after giving her marijuana and shots of Jack Daniel’s.
Duways had previously been arrested twice for driving under the influence of intoxicants and had failed to appear in court on both occasions.
In this case, Duways was required by the judge to turn over his passport to his private defense lawyer. According to Oregon law, bail can only be denied in cases of murder or treason and only 10 percent of the bail must be posted.
The judge set bail at a half-million dollars. The required $50,000 was posted by an official from the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Los Angeles. Then, before his trial, Duways vanished.
A previous case saw Saudi national Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, a Portland Community College student accused of a hit-and-run death of a 15-year old Portland girl, similarly disappear two weeks before his trial.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Marshals Service believe that Noorah cut his electronic tracking device, left his residence in a black SUV, used an fake passport and escaped the country in a private plane – all with the help of the Saudi government.
Thirteen months after he disappeared, the Saudi informed the DHS that Noorah was back in Saudi Arabia.
Investigations a year ago by OregonLive revealed there were “criminal cases involving at least five Saudi nationals who vanished before they faced trial or completed their jail sentence in Oregon. They include two accused rapists, a pair of suspected hit-and-run drivers and one man with child porn on his computer.”
In all the cases, the young men were studying at a college or university in Oregon and getting assistance from Saudi Arabia. Some of the men resurfaced in Saudi Arabia.
In four of the cases, the Saudi government paid their bail and possibly their legal fees. All the men had surrendered their passports and all vanished while facing charges or jail time.
The same lawyer was hired to represent the men in the cases.