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Saudi Arabia helped citizen ‘charged for murder’ flee US

Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, charged with manslaughter and hit-and-run charges, is on the run from the United States. According to the investigators, Saudi Arabia’s consulate helped him to escape in a private jet with an illegal passport. The United States officials said they are doing their best to bring him back from the Kingdom.

However, Abdulrahman has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter teen Fallon Smart, who was hit by his car, when he wrongfully deviated around halted traffic, letting the girl cross the road in Portland, in August 2016.

He disappeared without a trace on June 10, 2017, just two weeks before the trail. The US Marshals were informed by the Saudi government that Abdulrahman was back in Saudi Arabia, a week after he was found missing.

However, the Kingdom did not have any extradition agreement with the US.

‘We’re doing everything we can to get him back,’ Eric Wahlstrom, a supervisory deputy US Marshal said.

The offender missed out on bail in Portland, Oregon after the Saudi consulate released $100,000 bond in 2016.

Saudi Arabia, in the past, has posted bail for many of its citizens facing legal charges in the US, including $2million for Ziyad Abid, a Saudi student who was charged for killing a bar-owner in Missouri in 2013. In the same year, Saudi shelled out $5 million bail in favor of a Saudi princess accused of human trafficking.

Investigators confirmed that Abdulrahman, with his luggage, was driven in a private black GMC Yukon XL car to a sand-and-gravel yard. Before heading to Saudi Arabia, he pulled out the tracking device from his ankle to avoid being traced by the US authorities. His bail release supervisor, Deputy Kari Kolberg, permitted him to attend college that afternoon, but the SUV took him to a different place.

After Kolberg returned from a weekend vacation, she learned about Abdulrahman’s disappearance. She later contacted the prosecutor, Overstreet, and fear of Noorah’s suicide immediately emerged.

The US officials used sniffer dogs to search for the boy near his residence. They eventually found his ankle monitor in a local park. They also monitored the surveillance footage and GPS log of the vehicle that helped him escape.

Police found packed clothes, a mobile phone and computer at his home. The purpose of leaving behind his belongings is unclear.

Moreover, no flights from the US or Canada had his name on the list, so investigators concluded that Saudi Arabia provided him a fake passport with a different name to cross the border.

Noorah’s bail was raised from $280,000 to $1million as he was considered a flight risk. However, he still evaded the law as the consulate provided $100,000, the 10 per cent of amount required to be released.

The US authorities believe that the Saudi government directly handed over the money to Abdulrahman, as they could not find evidence of the individual collecting anyhow.

According to the records, the Kingdom worked with private investigators to look into his case before he went missing.

Abdulrahman’s passport was confiscated after he paid the amount on September 11, 2016. He was put under house arrest at the residence of his US host, Terri Stanford. Meanwhile, he pursued his studies on a scholarship.

The Saudi Arabian embassy provided monetary support to Noorah with monthly cheques of $1,800.

Two years ago, his host said she was concerned about his ‘mental stability’ and ‘deteriorating health’ as his appetite dropped. He also cut all social ties before the trail.

‘He suffers immensely from remorse and the effects of his trauma,’ she told his lawyer.

According to Stanford, Noorah was hospitalized several times and ‘there was no way he was going to survive jail’.

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