Canada examining case of Saudi who fled Canada after charge

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s foreign minister said Thursday her government is looking into the case of a Saudi Arabian man charged with sexual assault who might have fled Canada despite having his passport seized.

Nova Scotia’s prosecution service said this month that Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi had bail posted by the Saudi Arabian Embassy last year in the case involving allegations of sexual assault, assault and forcible confinement against a Canadian woman. A court document said his lawyer is quoted as saying that he fled Canada even though police had seized his passport.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canadian authorities are looking into this case and are concerned.

Veteran immigration lawyer Lee Cohen has said the likeliest way Alzoabi would have left the country without a passport is with Saudi embassy-issued travel documents

The Saudi embassy in Ottawa didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Last week Canada offered asylum to a Saudi teen whose flight from her allegedly abusive family captured global attention.

In August, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its own ambassador after Freeland’s department tweeted support for women’s right activists who had been arrested. The Saudis also sold Canadian investments and ordered their citizens studying in Canada to leave.

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