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Australian-Saudi activist faces extradition to Saudi Arabia following Morocco arrest, rights group warns

Dr Osama al-Hasani was arrested on arrival to Rabat [Prisoners of Conscience]

Date of publication: 28 February, 2021

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A Saudi human rights group has raised concerns over the safety of a Saudi-Australian dual national who was arrested in Morocco.
An Saudi-Australian dual citizen who was arrested in Morocco is facing extradition to Saudi Arabia over his alleged involvement in activism, rights groups have warned.

Osama al-Hasani was arrested on arrival to the Moroccan capital, Rabat, around three weeks ago. Hasani had been travelling using his Australian passport, according to Saudi rights group Prisoners of Conscience. 

"Moroccan authorities will put Dr Osama Al-Hasani to trial on 3 March, then he'd be most probably deported to Saudi Arabia, where the real danger lies," Prisoners of Conscience said on Twitter.

Hasani is described by Prisoners of Conscience as a businessman, consultant and a former academic at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz University, and a Quran reciter. His Twitter profile describes him as an "associate professor of business information systems [and a] consultant for international business and trade". 

According to one Moroccan news site, a letter filed with Morocco's public prosecutor's office accuses Hasani of involving himself with groups opposed to Riyadh's propogation of its Salafist interpretation of Islam.

Videos uploaded to YouTube show Hasani, also known as Osama al-Mahruqi, reciting Quran and delivering religious lectures outside of Saudi Arabia with non-Salafist Sunni groups.

Australia's foreign affairs department acknowledged to reporters earlier this week that it was providing consular assistance to an unnamed Australian national in Morocco.

The department declined to comment on whether the unnamed individual, assumed to be Hasani, would be extradited to Saudi Arabia, according to ABC News.

Hasani's arrest comes amid renewed attention on Riyadh over the 2018 killing of Saudi Jounalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 to obtain documents he needed to marry, and was killed and dismembered there.

On Friday, the United States publicly accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MbS] over Khashoggi's killing for the first time, with a long-awaited report stating that given his influence, it was "highly unlikely" that the murder could have taken place without the crown prince's green light.

Despite the conclusions of Friday's report, the Biden administration stopped short of imposing sanctions on MbS.

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