Australian facing extradition from Morocco to Saudi ‘wrong’ man: lawyer
An Australian detained in Morocco and threatened with extradition to Saudi Arabia, where rights groups fear he would face torture, is not the man identified in Riyadh’s arrest warrant, his lawyer said Friday.
Osama Al Hasani, 43, will be extradited to Saudi Arabia if Morocco’s government issues a decree confirming a ruling this week by the North African nation’s Court of Cassation in favour of the move, his lawyer Mohamed Al Bakri said.
Hasani was apprehended in Tangiers on February 8 by Moroccan police on the basis of an Interpol red warrant in connection with a 2015 car theft issued at Riyadh’s request, according to the MENA Rights Group, a Geneva-based legal advocacy group.
But the wanted man’s name and date of birth do not correspond with Hasani’s particulars, according to Bakri.
The Moroccan court ruled in favour of Saudi Arabia’s extradition request “without agreeing to conduct an identity verification procedure and without bringing proof that he is Saudi,” Bakri told AFP.
Rights organisations and some media outlets have described Hasani as a dual Saudi-Australian national.
ALQST, a rights group specialising in defending human rights in Saudi Arabia, said the Moroccan court’s decision to extradite Hasani “poses a grave danger to his life and safety”.
“He would face (an) unfair trial and risk being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment,” it said.
The UN’s Committee Against Torture requested Morocco on Friday “take interim measures and not to extradite Hasani” pending a review of his case by this UN body, according to the MENA Rights Group.
A spokesperson for the Australian government said “the circumstances of his detention and possible extradition are of concern”.