As details and heightened scrutiny that the cold blooded murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was ordered by the Saudi Arabia regime continued to mount into December of last year, details in a Portland, Oregon case of a Saudi National Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah’s disappearance just two weeks before he was set to appear for trial in July 2017 in the alleged crime of a deadly hit and and run were emerging.
SCOOP: Citing our @Oregonian investigation, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden introduced two bills today aimed at punishing Saudi Arabia over its suspected role in the escape of Saudi students who vanished before trial in Oregon.https://t.co/AbNdzEepb2— Shane D. Kavanaugh (@shanedkavanaugh) January 25, 2019
A black SUV pulled up to Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah’s home in Southeast Portland two weeks before his June 2017 trial.
Noorah, a Saudi national charged the year before in the fatal hit-and-run of a teenage girl crossing Hawthorne Boulevard, had a bag packed that Saturday afternoon.
The private car drove the 21-year-old Portland Community College student to a sand-and-gravel yard two miles away.
That’s where Noorah sliced off the tracking monitor he had worn around his ankle for months, according to interviews with federal authorities. He then discarded it at the scene before vanishing, leaving a victim’s family crushed and prosecutors furious and flummoxed.
Law enforcement officials now say they believe Noorah got an illicit passport and boarded a plane — likely a private carrier — to flee the country.
Despite unknowns in the ongoing investigation, officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service are all but certain who helped orchestrate the remarkable escape: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
U.S. officials learned only recently from the Saudi government that Noorah arrived back home 18 months ago.Oregonian
Since this discovery in December, Oregainian investigative reporting has discovered that in at least four other cases in Oregon the Saudi regime has most likely played out the same scenarios with other Saudi nationals as happened in the case of Noorah between 2012-2017.
Gone: More cases emerge of Saudi students vanishing while facing Oregon charges; Oregonian/OregonLive
Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley contacted the departments of State and DOJ last month by letter asking for answers from the Trump administration what role the Saudi’s played in Noorah’s timely disappearance in 2017.
In a letter last month, Wyden asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for explanations about the disappearance of Noorah, the PCC student and most recent case.
“These are shocking claims in any event,” Wyden wrote to Pompeo and Whitaker, “but with the barbaric murder of U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, they suggest a brazen pattern of disregard for the law and abuse of diplomatic privileges.”
On Friday the Oregonian reported Wyden and Merkley introduced two pieces of legislation targeting any foreign consulates who help their nationals escape US criminal justice system and also, among other things, “charge the Department of Justice with creating an annual report on foreign nationals who flee the U.S. while facing criminal prosecution” and “require the Director of National Intelligence to create a list of countries that help foreign nationals accused of crimes escape.”
In other news, Courthouse News reports Turkish Knicks Player Enes Kanter Fights Pressure From Erdogan.
“According to a researcher for Freedom House, a Washington-based human rights group, the Turkish government has detained, arrested and purged hundreds of thousands of people in a 46-country dragnet across four continents.”
President Donald Trump and his top allies meanwhile have been cozying up to Erdogan to coordinate on the withdrawal from Syria.
Despite belt-tightening from the U.S. government shutdown, Senator Lindsey Graham traveled to Turkey on this diplomatic mission last week.
As the South Carolina Republican posed for a smiling photo with Erdogan inside an Ankara music hall, Kanter had a message. “I would just tell [Graham] about how Erdogan uses power to abuse human rights in Turkey and democracy and freedom,” Kanter said.Courthouse News
Financier and fierce Kremlin critic Bill Browder has also said that Kanter’s ordeal reminded him of Russia’s abuse of the “red notice” system against him.
Well, as I warned, only 5 more to go, however, this new one out of a federal court in Maryland lands with a new twist.
The third trial suing the Trump administration, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Census Bureau for adding the citizenship question onto the 2020 census began in Maryland on Tuesday, Courthouse News reported.
The trial is before U.S. District Judge George Hazel in Greenbelt, Maryland. The court has agreed to consolidate plaintiffs that will include “residents of Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Florida” and “attorneys from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund” who is suing “on behalf of more than two dozen organizations and individuals.”
In a court filing, plaintiffs’ attorneys say Ross communicated with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Trump administration officials before issuing the March 2018 directive “to further the unconstitutional goal of diluting the political power of non-white immigrant communities.” The Census Bureau’s own analysis shows the citizenship question would lead to a lower response rate to the 2020 census by households with at least one non-citizen member, the attorney said.Courthouse News
The recently concluded case in Southern District of New York in District Judge Jesse Furman’s Manhattan court ended with Judge Furman concluding Ross acted “arbitrary and capricious” by adding in the question.
The second one, filed in District Court in San Francisco began hearing arguments January 7 and final testimony ended January 14. Closing arguments for that case is set for February 15.
Denise Hulett, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the Los Angeles-based group’s lawsuit is the only one to allege that the citizenship question on the 2020 census is a “product of a conspiracy that began in the early days of the Trump administration.”
“It allows us to talk about the motives of a large group of people instead of the motives of just Secretary Ross,” she said during a break in the trial.