Morocco de­nies al­le­ga­tion over ar­rest of Saudi na­tional in 2015

Khaleej Times - - MIDDLE EAST - Le Monde Guardian

ra­bat — Morocco con­firmed on Fri­day that in 2015 it ar­rested a Saudi of­fi­cial, wanted by In­ter­pol, and ex­tra­dited him to Riyadh, deny­ing that this was a “dis­ap­pear­ance”.

The com­ments came as the diplo­matic fall­out con­tin­ued over the dis­ap­pear­ance of Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, who has not been seen since he en­tered the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul on Oc­to­ber 2.

Turki bin Ban­dar bin Mo­hamed bin Ab­der­rah­mane Al Saud was ar­rested at Casablanca Air­port on Novem­ber 11, 2015 on his way to Paris on an “in­ter­na­tional war­rant is­sued (the same day) by Riyadh for dis­rupt­ing pub­lic or­der via the in­ter­net and fi­nan­cial crimes”, a Moroc­can diplo­matic source told AFP.

Bin Ban­dar, a for­mer high-rank­ing Saudi po­lice of­fi­cer, was ex­tra­dited to Saudi Ara­bia the next day “in com­pli­ance with le­gal pro­vi­sions”, the same Moroc­can diplo­matic source said, re­quest­ing anonymity.

“This wasn’t a dis­ap­pear­ance, as some in the me­dia have de­scribed it, but a nor­mal pro­ce­dure, Morocco’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter Mo­hamed Au­j­jar told AFP. “The two phases, ad­min­is­tra­tive and ju­di­cial were re­spected af­ter his ar­rest made on the ba­sis of an in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rant,” he added. His com­ments cane af­ter French news­pa­per

on Thurs­day pub­lished an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled “the dis­ap­pear­ance of Saudi dis­si­dents” in which it de­scribed the de­por­ta­tion three years ago as an ex­tra­di­tion of con­ve­nience.

The ar­ti­cle said bin Ban­dar had come into con­flict over a land dis­pute and that he had “posted videos on YouTube call­ing for re­forms”.

The for­mer po­lice of­fi­cial was “dis­creetly ar­rested in Morocco by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, then trans­ferred to Saudi Ara­bia”, the news­pa­per said. Bri­tain’s news­pa­per has re­ported that bin Ban­dar had re­quested asy­lum in France. It cited friends as say­ing he had dis­ap­peared in 2015.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron said that jour­nal­ist Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance was “very se­ri­ous”, and called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to es­tab­lish “com­plete clar­ity” on the is­sue.

Riyadh has made lit­tle com­ment since Khashoggi van­ished on Oc­to­ber 2 af­ter en­ter­ing the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, trig­ger­ing un­con­firmed al­le­ga­tions that he was killed.—

This was not a dis­ap­pear­ance, as some in the me­dia have de­scribed it, but a nor­mal pro­ce­dure Mo­hamed Au­j­jar, Morocco’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter

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