Extradition Case of Usama al-Hasani… Beginning of Court Hearing in Rabat
A Saudi court had previously sentenced Al-Hasani to two years in prison.
On Monday, the Court of Cassation in Rabat began hearing the case of the extradition of Australian of Saudi origin Usama al-Hasani, whose wife fears that he will be tortured and even face death if he is handed over to Saudi authorities.
Al-Hasani was arrested on February 8th upon arrival in Morocco, where he was planning to reunite with his wife and newly born baby.
“I call on the Moroccan authorities to release my innocent husband … I fear that he will face a fate similar to that of Khashoggi if he is extradited to Saudi Arabia,” his wife said, referring to the journalist who was killed by Saudi agents at the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
“The court has not pronounced a judgment yet,” she said, adding that her husband “did not engage in overt or covert political activity against Saudi Arabia.”
An official at the Moroccan Ministry of Justice said that the arrest came after the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued a warrant at the request of Saudi Arabia, adding that Al-Hasani is wanted in a case that falls under the penal code and includes theft.
A source who attended the session at the Court of Cassation in Rabat said that the defense stated that Saudi documents indicate that Al-Hasani was born to a Moroccan father, making him Moroccan according to the country’s law.
The source quoted the lawyers as saying that Moroccan law prohibits the extradition of Moroccans to other countries.
“Morocco has ratified a convention against torture and it should refrain from handing over a citizen to a country where he may face torture” said Khadija Riyadi, member the Moroccan Association for Human Rights.
For his part, a spokesman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade added that the circumstances of under which Al Hasani was arrested and the possibility of his extradition are of concern to Australia.