Senators: Punish Saudis for Helping Students Evade U.S. Justice

Two U.S. senators introduced legislation on Friday that would punish Saudi Arabia for allegedly helping students flee the United States before they could face justice in criminal cases. The proposed measures were sparked by an investigation by The Oregonian into the Saudi government’s assistance to at least five students who got into trouble while studying in the U.S. and then high-tailed it out of the country. Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden singled out the case of Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, who vanished two weeks before his manslaughter trial for the hit-and-run death of a 15-year-old, and Ali Hussain Alhamoud, who was bailed out after a 2012 indictment on a rape charge and flew home the same day. The legislation would limit Saudi travel to the U.S. and declare any diplomat involved in the escape of a suspect persona non grata. “Saudi Arabia’s blatant disrespect for international norms cannot be allowed to stand,” Merkley said in a statement.