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He Fled Home to Saudi Arabia Before US Trial. It Worked

State Department says there's not much it can do to bring back Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2019 8:09 AM CST
In this Aug. 22, 2016, file photo, Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah appears during his arraignment in a Portland, Ore. court. He has since fled the country and is back home in Saudi Arabia.   (Rebeca Bagdocimo/The Oregonian via AP,File)

(Newser) – A man accused of killing an Oregon teenager in a hit-and-run crash appears to be in the clear after he fled home to Saudi Arabia—apparently with his government's help. The State Department says there is little it can do to force Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah to return to America to face his manslaughter trial, reports the Oregonian. A previous investigation by the newspaper found a pattern: When young Saudi men get into trouble in the US, the government back home goes to extreme measures to make sure they never face legal consequences. In Noorah's case, the then 21-year-old was spirited out of the country after a mysterious black SUV showed up at his house—and he managed to fly back to Saudi Arabia even though he had surrendered his passport.

"The United States and Saudi Arabia do not have a bilateral extradition treaty, and Saudi Arabia does not extradite its nationals to the United States," a State Department official explained to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden in a letter. "Therefore, the law enforcement options available are limited." Plus, she added, the US doesn't have "concrete evidence" that the Saudi government aided Noorah's escape. To which Wyden responded: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "is proud to brag about America’s military and economic dominance, but he apparently believes the State Department is powerless to stand up to Saudi Arabia’s long pattern of apparently helping criminal suspects escape US justice." (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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