Australian Citizen to Be Extradited to Saudi Arabia

International lawyers acting for Osama al-Hasani, 42, have asked United Nations special rapporteurs to raise his case with Moroccan authorities, citing “credible concerns” that he was being targeted by the Saudi Arabian government for his political opinions.

The Australian government confirmed on Thursday it was in contact with Moroccan authorities about the matter and that an Australian embassy official had visited him.

“The circumstances of his detention and possible extradition are of concern to Australia,” a spokesperson for the foreign affairs department said.

Al-Hasani – a dual Australian and Saudi citizen – was detained shortly after he arrived in Morocco on February 8 in connection with an extradition request from Saudi Arabia. His wife, Hana al-Hasani, said he was detained just hours after meeting his newborn child.

She told the Guardian on Thursday, “I can’t describe my feeling. I was just told today that I could visit my husband tomorrow for the first time since he was arrested and now I am being told that this maybe my last visit and even maybe the last time I could see him alive.

“The fact that he will be extradited to Saudi Arabia means simply that he is going to be tortured and maybe worse than that, things I don’t want to think about right now.

“I still hope a miracle will happen and I still have trust that this country has wise people in charge, led by the king of Morocco, that will not allow this to happen.

She said al-Hasani was a father of four. She said his youngest child turned five months old the day his father was in court. “And I really hope the Australians will succeed in moving something and taking him (al-Hasani) home, to be safe and secure.”

A report published by a Moroccan news site has previously alluded to accusations that al-Hasani was accused of organizing opposition activity to Wahhabism, the state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia, but his supporters have argued that he “he has no relation to any political opposition activity”.

SBS News quoted a Moroccan justice ministry official as saying the arrest took place following an Interpol notice filed by Saudi Arabia, adding that he was wanted by the Saudis for a penal code matter involving theft. Reuters claims a court there had previously sentenced him to two years in prison on theft charges, which he denies.

A statement issued on Thursday on behalf of al-Hasani’s family said a Moroccan court had now approved his extradition to Saudi Arabia.

“This is an extraordinary and disappointing decision,” the family’s statement said.

The statement, issued by London-based lawyer Haydee Dijkstal, who is acting as the international counsel for al-Hasani, said the extradition was approved “despite urgent concerns raised of the real and credible risk to Mr al-Hasani’s fundamental rights, safety and security if he is extradited to Saudi Arabia”.

Dijkstal said a representative of the Australian government was understood to have been present at the two hearings before the extradition decision was released, but al-Hasani was not present in the courtroom for either hearing. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said it is providing consular assistance.

Dijkstal said the family was not aware of precisely when al-Hasani’s transfer to Saudi Arabia might happen “but are extremely worried that it might happen imminently”.

“UN special rapporteurs are therefore called upon to take urgent steps to protect Mr al-Hasani’s life, security and rights by raising his case with the Moroccan authorities, and the government of Australia is called upon to publicly oppose the extradition of its own national to Saudi Arabia.”

Australia’s foreign affairs department said it was providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Morocco and held concerns about the circumstances.

“Our embassy in Rabat is in direct contact with local officials,” a spokesperson said.

“The Australian government continues to engage with the Moroccan government on this matter.”

The department would not provide further comment “owing to our privacy obligations”.Follow the Official Rokna NEWS Telegram Channel For More and fresh NEWS.


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