The Saudi Arabian government, Oregon’s bail laws, and a young man scared to face consequences for his actions have left the family of Fallon Smart reeling. Again.
15-year-old Smart was hit and killed by Abdulrahman Noorah, 21, as she attempted to walk across SE Hawthorne Boulevard ten months ago. Noorah was driving recklessly at over twice the posted speed limit prior to hitting her. And now, just weeks before Noorah was to face justice for his alleged actions, he removed the electronic monitoring device that allowed authorities to keep tabs on him.
“I could see them [Saudi government] saying, ‘Welcome back, now you owe us $100,000 and we’ll put you in jail until you pay us’.”
— Shawn Overstreet, Multnomah County DA
U.S. Marshalls have issued a warrant for his arrest and a nationwide manhunt is underway.
Since Noorah’s escape last week, we’ve learned more about his case and the involvement of the Saudi Arabian government (he was in Portland on a student visa).
According to a June 13th BikePortland comment from a member of Fallon’s family, her uncle Shane Smart worried that Noorah was a flight risk from the moment he was arrested. Here’s an excerpt from that comment attributed to Shane Smart:
• From day 1, our family objected to a bail because of things known about Abdulrahman Noorah that made us believe he was a flight risk
• The deputy district attorney representing the state’s case against Abdulrahman Noorah expressed our objection of allowing a bail and house arrest to the presiding Judge
• A ‘Closed Street Supervision’ report was completed by a CSS officer, which evaluates the circumstances of a person who has had charges brought against them and recommends to the court if they should be released on bail and placed under house arrest based on their findings of ‘flight risk’. The report on Abdulrahman Noorah found that he was a flight risk and recommended he should not be allowed bail
• After our family objections and the recommendation from the CSS report, the presiding Judge still allowed $100,000.00 bail and him to be release on house arrest until trial
• Abdulrahman Noorah’s living expenses of almost $1900.00 a month has been provided by the Saudi Arabian government since 2014
• Abdulrahman Noorah’s legal counsel was retained and paid for by the Saudi Arabian consulate
• Abdulrahman Noorah’s $100,000.00 bail was paid for by the Saudi Arabian consulate
• Abdulrahman Noorah has now disappeared and we can only assume trying to return to his home country to evade paying for what he did to my sweet niece
Some of those facts have now been verified by Willamette Week reporter (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Nigel Jaquiss in a story published yesterday. Jaquiss reports that the Saudi Arabian consulate hired two lawyers to represent Noorah and that the Saudi consulate posted his $100,000 bail (10 percent of the $1 million amount, which is allowed via Oregon law) less than one month after he was arrested.
In an interview this morning Multnomah County District Attorney Shawn Overstreet downplayed the Saudi government’s ties to the case. He said it’s more likely they feel a bit burned to have wasted $100,000 on a man with no ties to royalty, politics or official business. By escaping custody apparently on a whim, Overstreet said Noorah has put himself in an “interesting scenario.” He’s now on local and national law enforcement watch lists and it would be very difficult for him to leave the United States.
As part of the pre-judgment release conditions negotiated by Overstreet, Noorah not only had to post bail and wear a monitoring device, he also gave up his passport and waived his right to extradition. Is the Saudi government helping him in any way? Overstreet says that’s unlikely. His home country isn’t about re-issue Noorah’s passport and get mired in a high-profile scandal by directly assisting him. “They wouldn’t do that for this guy,” he said.
Given that he’d have to be smuggled across the border or get a new passport, Overstreet say it’s likely Noorah is still in the U.S. Even if he did manage to return to Saudi Arabia, Overstreet thinks Noorah might be surprised at the reception he’d get. “I could see them [Saudi government] saying, ‘Welcome back, now you owe us $100,000 and we’ll put you in jail until you pay us’.”
Overstreet thinks Noorah is simply afraid to face the consequences of his actions. “We were getting pretty close to resolving the case,” he said, “and it just didn’t go his way.”
Meanwhile, Fallon’s family is understandably angry and frustrated. Shane Smart just wants Noorah to be found in order for some level of justice to be served.
“Please share this post… publicly and get his face known at a national level. He needs to be re-apprehended and pay for his crime.”
Please see the Oregon Crimestoppers notice for information about where to send tips and information that will lead to Noorah’s capture.