Australia contacts Morocco over preacher's extradition to Saudi Arabia
Australia is in contact with Morocco after a Moroccan court approved the extradition of a dual Saudi-Australian citizen to Saudi Arabia, where he is wanted over his religious views.
Osama Al-Hasani, 42, is set to be extradited to Saudi Arabia, where he has been sentenced to two years in prison on charges of theft.
However, reports claim the businessman,a Qu'ran reciter and former professor, faces imprisonment in Saudi Arabia due to his opposition to Riyadh's ultraconservative interpretation of Islam and activism against the country's rulers.
Canberra confirmed on Thursday it has been in contact with Rabat about Al-Hasni’s case and that an Australian embassy official had visited him.
“The circumstances of his detention and possible extradition are of concern to Australia,” a spokesperson for the foreign affairs department said.
Hasani's wife was told that she will be able to see him before he leaves Morocco.
“I can’t describe my feeling. I was just told today that I could visit my husband tomorrow for the first time since he was arrested and now I am being told that this maybe my last visit and even maybe the last time I could see him alive,” she told The Guardian.
“The fact that he will be extradited to Saudi Arabia means simply that he is going to be tortured and maybe worse than that, things I don’t want to think about right now.
“I still hope a miracle will happen and I still have trust that this country has wise people in charge, led by the king of Morocco, that will not allow this to happen.
Hasani was detained last month in Morocco, where he had travelled to join his wife and child, after an Interpol notice was filed by Saudi Arabia.
The father-of-four hoped to meet his four-month-old baby upon arriving Morocco. His family fears that Hasani will never meet his youngest child.
The Moroccan court case has been mired with questions over the legality of Hasani's proposed extradition.
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.