The wife of an Australian-Saudi citizen facing deportation to Saudi Arabia says she fears her husband could meet a similar fate as the murdered dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
Australia’s SBS News reported on Monday that Usama Al-Husaini, 42, was awaiting extradition to Saudi Arabia after being detained in Morocco three weeks ago.
Husaini, who taught at a Saudi university before becoming a businessman, was visiting his newborn child in the African country when he was arrested by security forces four hours after his arrival on February 8, his wife said.
“We confirm that Moroccan authorities will put Dr. Usama Al-Husaini to trial on 3 March, then he'd most probably be deported to Saudi Arabia, where the real danger lies,” human rights group Prisoners of Conscience tweeted on Sunday.
“The issue is really urgent and there is [a] threat upon his life. We reassert that he has no relation to any political opposition activity,” it added.
However, according to local media, Husaini has been targeted by the Saudi regime for allegedly participating in an anti-Riyadh “activity of public opposition.”
Husaini is reportedly being held at a prison in the town of Tiflet in northwestern Morocco.
“I am afraid that my husband will be handed over to the Saudi authorities,” his wife said, adding, “[H]is fate will be like that of Jamal Khashoggi,” referring to the Washington Post columnist who was killed by Saudi agents in Turkey in 2018.
A long-awaited US intelligence report on the brutal killing of the Saudi journalist was released by the US government last week. The damning assessment confirmed that the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman not only approved, but also, most likely personally ordered the grisly assassination.
Khashoggi’s fiancée called on Monday for the Saudi prince, known in the media as MBS, to be punished following the US intelligence report.
“It is essential that the crown prince... should be punished without delay,” Hatice Cengiz said on Twitter. “If the crown prince is not punished, it will forever signal that the main culprit can get away with murder which will endanger us all and be a stain on our humanity.”
Khashoggi, who was a US resident, was killed and dismembered by a team linked to the crown prince in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in November 2018.
The administration of President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on some of those involved - but not bin Salman himself. The Saudi government, which has denied any involvement by the crown prince, rejected the report's findings.
“Starting with the Biden administration, it is vital for all world leaders to ask themselves if they are prepared to shake hands with a person whose culpability as a murderer has been proven," Cengiz said.