Morocco Denies Media Allegation over Arrest of Saudi National in 2015

Rabat – Morocco’s justice ministry has denied media allegations that Morocco helped “disappear” Saudi Prince Turki bin Mohammed Bandar Al Saud in 2015.The Ministry of Justice issued a statement describing the information as unfounded and misleading.The Rabat Court of Cassation, the only court which handles extradition decisions, rendered Judgement 2209/3 in 2015, approving Morocco’s extradition of the Saudi national to Saudi Arabia. Moroccan authorities arrested Prince Turki at Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport on November 11, 2015, “under an international arrest warrant.”The Saudi prince, a former high-ranking Saudi police officer, was heading to Paris.“This wasn’t a disappearance, as some in the media have described it, but a normal procedure,” Morocco’s justice minister Mohamed Aujjar told AFP.“The two phases, administrative and judicial were respected after his arrest made on the basis of an international arrest warrant,” he added.On October 11, French newspaper Le Monde reported that Prince Turki had been in conflict with the Saudi royal family over a land dispute and had “posted videos on YouTube calling for reforms.”Le Monde claimed that Prince Turki was “discreetly arrested in Morocco by local authorities, then transferred to Saudi Arabia.”The media allegation came in the midst of international uproar over the sudden disappearance of a Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, known for his staunch criticism of Saudi foreign policy decisions. Turkish authorities declared on October 6 that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, four days after his disappearance.British newspaper the Guardian reported on October 8,  “Prince Turki bin Bandar al-Saud, who applied for asylum in France, disappeared in 2015.”The Guardian also published an article on March 29, 2016, about the “disappearance” of Prince Turki.The British newspaper cited a member of the Saudi opposition who was in touch with Prince Turki shortly after he was arrested.“Someone gave Turki bin Bandar the impression Morocco was safe so he went there to do some business and the Moroccan government took him and gave him to the Saudis,” he said.The Moroccan Ministry of Justice stated that Morocco was “surprised at the unverified and misleading publications” by international media.“Morocco wishes to recall that all acts of extradition are always based on a court decision, in accordance with international procedures and in full respect of national legislation guaranteeing the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals.”

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