Wyden, Merkley Urge Biden Administration to Hold Saudi Arabian Government Accountable for Lawless Actions

Wyden, Merkley Urge Biden Administration to Hold Saudi Arabian Government Accountable for Lawless Actions

The Saudi Arabian government has a documented history of helping Saudi nationals flee the U.S. justice system after being accused of serious crimes, including the 2018 killing of 15-year-old Fallon Smart in Portland, Oregon

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today urged the Biden administration to hold the Saudi Arabian government accountable for helping Saudi nationals accused of crimes flee the United States to avoid trial.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the senators wrote, “We urge you to do what the Trump administration would not: impose consequences on the Saudis for their indefensible behavior. We also urge you to seek a waiver of any relevant immunity for Saudi officials who engage in this type of activity so that they may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of U.S. law.”

The senators cited a declassified 2020 FBI report, which confirmed the, “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) officials almost certainly assist US-based Saudi citizens in fleeing the United States to avoid legal issues, undermining the US judicial process.” The report was declassified by the Wyden-authored Saudi Fugitives Declassification Act, which became law in December 2019.

The senators continued, “The FBI report says these Saudi government actions are ‘undermining the U.S. justice system.’ Indeed, Saudi actions constitute flagrant violations of U.S. domestic law and American sovereignty. Nor are these victimless crimes. A Saudi student ran over a young woman near where we live in Portland, killing her. To avoid justice, he cut his ankle bracelet and fled the country. Other Saudi nationals have been charged with rape and assault only to disappear and resurface later in Saudi Arabia.”

The senators plan to reintroduce updated versions of their ESCAPE Act and Preserving American Justice Act.

A full copy of today’s letter is availablehere.