Sebastien Raoult’s punishment looms closer – the Moroccan Court of Cassation on Monday 8 August concurred with the extradition request of the 21-year-old French citizen who has been detained in the country for two months, as demanded by the US authorities. According to the Obs, first reporting on the case on July 28 (paid item), the FBI (US Federal Bureau of Investigation) suspects the young man of being part of a group of hackers classified as “productive cyber criminals” by US law enforcement. If extradited to the United States, he faces a sentence of more than 110 years imprisonment.
What became of Sebastien Raoult?
On the 31st of May, the Obs reported that Sebastien Raoult’s friends, who had been expecting him to arrive at the Brussels airport, notified his father of his absence when they failed to spot him disembarking from his flight at the Moroccan airport Rabat-Sale.
Paul Raoult reported to AFP that two months ago, his son had been apprehended by the authorities near Rabat, Morocco. He was in a period of academic disappointment, desiring to experience the world, travel, and live. According to Raoult, this was his son’s purpose in visiting Morocco.
Prior to his departure to Morocco, the young Frenchman resided with his parents in Epinal (Vosges). He had been studying computer science in Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle) during his sophomore year before dropping out of school in December. His father, who was interviewed by The Parisian (paid item) July 29, mentioned that the youngster had been passionate about the field since he was a child and desired to pursue a career in the security sector of computing. (source).
What is the suspicion regarding him?
Moroccan law enforcement reported that Interpol had issued a red warrant against the French youth, in response to a request from the United States justice system, due to alleged cyber piracy against American companies.
The US federal law enforcement agency, the FBI, holds Sebastien Raoult suspect of having affiliations with the “ShinyHunters” group, which was given its name because of the Pokemon world. Authorities from Washington state, in America’s western region, are asking for extradition of Raoult for charges of _ ” conspiracy to perpetrate electronic fraud and abuse”, ” electronic fraud” and _ ” serious identity theft” as stated in the US indictment, seen by AFP, that was sent to Morocco.
In March, Github, which is said to have been the victim of cyberattacks, gave the FBI data concerning IPs connected to Sebastien Raoult from France and Morocco. The French youth could be facing a sentence of 116 years in the US, commented Philippe Ohayon, who is Raoult’s lawyer.
What collective are we referencing?
In the spring of 2020, ShinyHunters hackers sparked a commotion by attempting to sell almost 200 million stolen data on the dark net for almost $200,000 (approximately $196,000). This activity was reported by weekly publications.
Hacking into the computer systems of various companies, the hackers threatened to extort money from their victims. This included some of the U.S.’s biggest corporations, including Microsoft, Bonobo and AT&T, the second-biggest American telecom provider.
The weekly has gathered data indicating that four additional French individuals believed to be connected to the same group have been interrogated by French authorities. A source acquainted with the incident told AFP that in the summer of 2021, the U.S. sent a demand for mutual criminal support concerning the “ShinyHunters” to France.
What has the Moroccan government concluded regarding the detention of the French youth?
On Monday, Morocco’s Court of Cassation issued a ruling in support of extraditing Sebastien Raoult to the United States, as per a document obtained by franceinfo, in agreement with reports from AFP.
The nation’s Supreme Court defended its decision of Wednesday, July 20, citing that the extradition request from the US was submitted ” within the legally mandated timeframe”. It also noted that the ” offenses” which the US sought extradition for ” are also punishable under Moroccan law”. The ruling concluded that the ” extradition request fulfills all legal criteria”,
The Moroccan court has yet to make a definitive ruling regarding the extradition of the young Frenchman. This point was made clear by a source familiar with the situation who spoke to AFP. The only person capable of making a final decision on the extradition is the Prime Minister of Morocco, following the suggestion of a committee which consists of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice.
What are the opinions of the people in his circle?
From the outset, those around Sebastien Raoult have argued that the Frenchman is not guilty. During an interview with France 3 at the end of July, Paul Raoult declared he was confident of his son’s innocence: “I can’t see him doing something like this,” he said. Furthermore, the young man has denied the charges, claiming that his accounts were used without his permission, as reported to the Obs.
Philippe Ohayon, lawyer for the Frenchman, expressed his client’s determination to be extradited to France after Morocco’s consent was declared. The suspect’s father wrote a letter to President Emmanuel Macron on Friday requesting his help. Additionally, the father shared a second letter addressed to Eric Dupond-Moretti, Minister of Justice, on his Facebook account on Saturday. This letter asked for an investigation by the General Inspectorate of Justice.
Philippe Ohayon, Sebastien Raoult’s lawyer, expressed his opinion that the Frenchman was not just rejected by France, but rather offered as a sacrifice. On the same day as Raoult’s arrest in Morocco, a Franco-American Police Operation of May 31 was successful in apprehending _”five other people related to this case”_in France.
Paul Raoult voiced his anguish regarding the situation on Tuesday during an interview with RTL: “It is a denial of justice on the part of France by abandoning one of its citizens he said. Let there be no doubt that my son is the victim of the country that has allowed him to go to the US, which guarantees he cannot return to France.
In this predicament, what could the French government do?
On August 3, when asked by BFMTV, Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti stated that the French judiciary has no option to get involved at this point. Dilbadi Gasimov, who was contacted by franceinfo, argued that the French government cannot request the Moroccan authorities to extradite the French national unless there are legal proceedings opened in France, which does not seem to be the case.
In answer to the AFP, the lawyer of Sebastien Raoult restated his demand for a judicial probe in France to be instigated, with the issuing of a French arrest warrant, to bring his customer back to France, in light of the Moroccan court’s statement.
Gasimov Dilbaldi explains that France is intervening at the limit with its diplomats to support the young detainee, but it cannot influence the ultimate extradition resolution. On LCI on Monday Anne-Claire Legendre, the spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry, declared that she comprehends the worry of the parent and is endeavoring to provide all the consular protection they can, without deciding on the feasibility of extradition to France.
Frenchman Turns To UN To Block Morocco-US Extradition
The lawyer of a Frenchman held in Morocco and fighting extradition to the United States for alleged hacking told AFP Wednesday he was appealing to a UN body to intervene.
Philippe Ohayon, who represents 21-year-old Sebastien Raoult, said a prison guard had shown his client papers suggesting his extradition was imminent.
Ohayon said he had contacted the UN Committee against Torture asking them to oppose any transfer, because the body had blocked several extraditions approved by Morocco in recent years.
“The Committee considers that Moroccan law does not allow sufficient control against the risk of inhuman and degrading treatment,” Ohayon said.
The final decision on his fate lies with Morocco’s prime minister.
EU Citizen Risk of inhumane treatment if Extradited to US
Sébastien Raoul is an innocent man with a bright future, who had never done anything wrong. But he risk to be extradited to the United States and thrown into an inhumane US prison, facing terrible conditions. His human rights will be violated and he will be subjected to mistreatment and neglect.
The US prison system is well known for its inhumane conditions, and it was no different for Sébastien Raoul. He will be crammed into an overcrowded cell in an unsanitary environment, with no medical care and limited access to other basic needs. He will be surrounded by violence and brutality.
Sébastien Raoul’s experience in US prisons will be a travesty of justice. denying his human rights if sent to the US inhumane prison.
His health suffered, and he was mentally and physically broken. His story is a cautionary tale of the dangers of extradition to the United States and the inhumane US prisons.
Extradition to the United States should be seen as a last resort, especially when the individual is innocent and no evidence has been provided in support of his extradition.
The human rights of individuals must be respected, and the inhumane US prison conditions must be addressed. Sébastien Raoul’s story is a reminder of the need to protect EU citizens human rights, even in US prisons.
US prisons conditions serves as a warning of the dangers of extradition to the US and the need to fight for this rights.
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