Saudi man is accused of sexual assault in Canada, but his location remains mystery
A Saudi citizen who studied at a university in Nova Scotia, Canada, and faces multiple criminal charges, failed to show for a court date and authorities don’t know where he is, according to the local Chronicle Herald newspaper.
Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi, 28, was to face charges of sexual assault, assault, forcible confinement, uttering threats, criminal harassment, dangerous driving and assault with a weapon (a vehicle) in separate trials related to two incidents that occurred in Sydney between 2016 and 2017.
His $37,500 bail, posted in cash, which was forfeited at a hearing on Monday was provided by the Saudi embassy, and Canada’s Cape Breton police confirmed to the Chronicle Herald that they have the passport he was forced to turn over.
“It should be impossible (for him to leave the country or enter another without a passport) unless Saudi Arabia furnished him with a Saudi travel document,” Halifax-based immigration attorney Lee Cohen told the newspaper. “They have done this before.”
The case comes as teenage asylum-seeker Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun was granted asylum in Canada after fleeing Saudi Arabia last week, saying she feared her family would kill her.
Saudi Arabia is already under international pressure over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a team of Saudi agents, amid its unpopular war in Yemen.
The Saudi Arabian embassy did not respond to a Chronicle Herald request for comment on Alzoabi.
Alzoabi was contacted by the newspaper via Facetime but refused to say where he is. “Probably not,” he told the Chronicle Herald when asked via a Facetime call whether he was in Canada. "I can’t tell you that.”
Alzoabi said he won’t come back to Cape Breton, an island of about 132,000 population off the east coast of Nova Scotia, to face the charges because he thinks they are “unfair”.
The Chronicle Herald said it could not publish details about the actual incidents, as the charges are still technically headed for trial.
While Alzoabi told the newspaper he “still loves Canadians,” that sentiment is not necessarily shared in the area.
“He was rude, obnoxious and thought he was above women and the rules,” Jessica Hines, manager of Kevin’s Towing in Sydney, Cape Breton, told the newspaper.
“First time I met him consisted of him coming in my office and snapping his fingers because I didn’t greet him quick enough as I was busy,” Hines said.
“I immediately marked my dominance by telling him, ‘I don’t jump for men when they snap their fingers at me,’ and made him sit and wait for near an hour.”
Alzoabi became a regular visitor to Hines’s office as she continued to tow his vehicles.
Between March 2012 and April 2016, Alzoabi racked up 34 motor vehicle infractions for speeding, driving with an invalid licence and for driving uninsured, unregistered and uninspected vehicles.
The unpaid fines amount to $68,967.
Canadian authorities admit they don’t know where Alzoabi is, where he fled or if he is out of the country.
Local authorities said that if Alzoabi is in Canada and is identified by police, the warrants for his arrest will appear. These warrants are “unendorsed,” meaning if he was arrested again he would not be released from custody.
Asked what he plans for the future, Alzoabi told the newspaper, “I don’t know, maybe Saudi Arabia.”
Alzoabi’s social media posts depict a lifestyle of ostentatious wealth, including a video of him eating a gold-encrusted sundae and a photo of a house with three luxury cars.