Distraught wife fears for Australian Osama al-Hasani after court approves Saudi Arabia extradition

The Saudi-Australian dual national's wife says she holds grave fears for her husband's safety and that she may never see him again.

Osama Al-Hasani with his four-month-old child in Morocco, hours before he was detained.

Dr Al-Hasani with his four-month-old child in Morocco, hours before he was detained. Source: Supplied

A Moroccan court has decided to extradite Osama al-Hasani, a dual Australian-Saudi citizen, to Saudi Arabia, his wife says.

Mr al-Hasani, 42, was taken into custody on 8 February, hours after arriving in Tangier, Morocco. He had travelled from his home in the United Kingdom to visit his wife and four-month-old child.

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced Mr al-Hasani, a businessman who previously worked at a Saudi university, to two years in prison.

His wife, Hana, said last week she feared for her husband’s life ", the Saudi dissident and US resident killed and dismembered by a team of operatives in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

In a series of WhatsApp messages on Thursday morning, Hana told SBS News she "[couldn't] describe her feelings".

Mr Al-Hasani was detained in Morocco on 8 February.
Mr Al-Hasani was detained in Morocco on 8 February. Source: Supplied

"The fact 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," she said.

"I am so afraid for my husband, who is facing an unknown fate. Will I see him again or not? How will I raise my son without a father?"

She said authorities have taken her husband to a prison in Tiflet, a town about 60km east of Morocco's capital, Rabat.

A Moroccan justice ministry official said Mr al-Hasani's arrest took place following an Interpol notice filed by Saudi Arabia, adding that Mr al-Hasani is wanted by the Saudis for a penal code matter involving theft.

According to , he was targeted for allegedly participating in the organisation of "an activity of public opposition" to the Islamic sect Wahhabism, the dominant faith in Saudi Arabia. 

Human rights lawyer Haydee Dijkstal, who is representing Mr al-Hasani, said the court's decision was extraordinary and disappointing. 

"Mr al-Hasani’s extradition was approved by the Moroccan court despite urgent concerns raised of the real and credible risk to Mr al-Hasani’s fundamental rights, safety and security if he is extradited to Saudi Arabia," she said in a statement, issued on behalf of his family. 

"There is extensive evidence that  Saudi  Arabia  regularly  violates  this  fundamental right  against  torture  and  abusive  treatment, particularly for individuals detained due to their human rights activism, or perceived opposition or criticism of the Saudi Arabian government."

Human rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which advocates on behalf of people detained in Saudi Arabia, has called for the immediate release of Mr al-Hasani.

"We call upon authorities in Morocco to release him and stop any attempt to deport him to KSA [Saudi Arabia] where he'd be either killed or jailed."

Hana wrote  last week, pleading for the Australian government to help stop the "injustice" of her husband's possible extradition.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the office of Foreign Minister Marise Payne have been contacted for comment.

Additional reporting: Reuters

3 min read
Published 11 March 2021 at 6:30am
By Evan Young