Report: Saudi Arabia Is Helping Violent Fugitives Flee The U.S.
A recently declassified FBI memo revealed that Saudi Arabia helps U.S.-based Saudi citizens flee the country to avoid criminal prosecution, according to Yahoo News.
The FBI intelligence bulletin, dated Aug. 29, 2019, was obtained and shared by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Twitter Friday. The Justice Department sent the heavily redacted document in response to a request from Wyden’s office.
Saudi Arabia officials “perceive the embarrassment of Saudi citizens enduring the U.S. judicial process is greater than the embarrassment of the United States learning that the [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] surreptitiously removes citizens with legal problems from the United States,” the FBI wrote in the bulletin.
The Saudi fugitives receiving assistance from the Middle Eastern kingdom face charges ranging from traffic violations to rape, child pornography, and manslaughter. The FBI stated that Saudi Arabia will continue to assist Saudi citizens charged with crimes to evade the American justice system unless the U.S. government addresses it.
Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) urged President Trump to take immediate action in a joint statement.
“The declassified FBI report is extremely damning for the Saudi government,” Wyden tweeted Saturday. “If after this bombshell information, the Trump administration still fails to hold the Saudi government accountable, it will be nothing short of an accomplice in helping Saudi fugitives evade justice.”
Wyden and Merkley introduced two bills that would impose significant penalties on foreign consulates that help their citizens escape the U.S. judicial system.
The FBI’s assessment is expected to add to the already strained relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The CIA previously determined that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Washinton Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.
Trump said the U.S. would continue to partner with Saudi Arabia despite the CIA’s findings.