December 18, 2019

Bill Demanding Answers About Saudi Fugitives Slated to Pass in Year-End Spending Package

Wyden, Merkley Pushed Trump Administration to Tackle Troubling Pattern, Possibility the Saudi Government has Aided Saudi Fugitives; Package Slated to Pass on Thursday and Become Law This Week

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced Wyden’s Saudi Fugitives Declassification Act, which requires the FBI to declassify any information it may possess about the Saudi government’s role in helping accused criminals leave the United States, was added to the year-end spending bill that is slated to pass Thursday.

“It is long past time to stop treating Saudi Arabia as if it were above the law,” Wyden said. “My bill will finally force the federal government to cough up any information it may have about how the Saudi government may have assisted its citizens from fleeing beyond the reach of the U.S. justice system. The victims of these crimes deserve nothing less.”

“It is outrageous that Saudi nationals have committed serious crimes in the U.S. and have been spirited away in the dark of night with assistance from the Saudi government,” said Merkley. “When anyone commits a crime, they must be held fully accountable. Getting this bill across the finish line is a good first step to bring to light who knew what and when. We need to demand full accountability for these crimes and make it clear to the Saudi government that the United States will not allow Saudis to bypass our laws.”

The provision gives the FBI 30 days to declassify any and all information it may possess about the Saudi government’s possible role in helping Saudi nationals escape justice in the United States. Wyden’s bill passed the Senate unanimously in October.

These legislative efforts follow reporting from The Oregonian uncovering a pattern of Saudi nationals evading the American justice system in Oregon, allegedly with help from the Saudi Arabian government. Subsequent reporting has shown similar cases across North America spanning decades.

Wyden and Merkley have pushed the administration for nearly a year, since The Oregonian first revealed a possible link between the Saudi government and the flight of a Saudi national accused of manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of a 15-year old Portland girl. They introduced the ESCAPE Act and Preserving American Justice Act in January, and have pressed a host of federal agencies, including the State Department, FBI, U.S. Marshall’s Service, Customs and Border Protection and Department of Justice, for answers about the disturbing trend.