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Swiss national Dr Khater Massaad responds to Ras Al Khaimah's request for his extradtion

While he awaits the decision of the Saudi authorities in response to the request by Ras Al-Khaimah ('RAK'), a part of the United Arab Emirates ('UAE') for his extradition, Dr Khater Massaad, the Chief Executive of Star Industrial Holdings, today issued the following statement in Saudi Arabia and the UAE following his detention in jail in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 20 September 2016:

"As a Swiss national who lived and worked for over 23 years in RAK out of a 30 year career in the UAE which included holding many important official positions such as the CEO of RAK Ceramics and Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority, I played a vital role in the economic success of RAK, an emirate not endowed by oil wealth.

"It is fair to say that my efforts greatly contributed to making RAK a highly respected and important regional manufacturing hub. Since I left RAK in 2012, I have focused my business activities on investing the bulk of my personal wealth alongside a major Saudi partner in a substantial ceramics factory in Saudi Arabia.

"I have been told that the request by RAK for my extradition is based on two criminal judgments against me and others in the RAK courts dating from 2015. These allegations are made by the emirate itself acting as the owner of the businesses.

"However, I have never been served with a summons for either of the two cases made against me which means I have never been able to defend myself in court. Indeed, I do not even know the particulars of the allegations, nor seen any of the documents attempting to substantiate the allegations, nor been served with the judgments nor even had sight of any other documents which claim to make a case against me in these seemingly secret and even mysterious legal cases.

"In short, this is a total and absolute abuse of anyone's understanding of what might be the proper judicial due process. There has consequently been a fundamental violation of my human rights in respect of such allegations which at worst are no more than a straightforward business or civil dispute. By any international standard of judicial co-operation or even common decency, it is clear that there is no legitimate basis for my extradition, and certainly none back to a jurisdiction so clearly lacking any of its own proper judicial procedures.

"As regards my own credentials, I am asking the pertinent authorities in Saudi Arabia and RAK to judge me on my personal, business and academic background as well as the many people of high standing and regard who will vouch for my own good standing and attachment to strong business ethics and morals.

"However great might be the brotherly feelings among the members of the Gulf Co-operation Council, surely the judicial authorities in Saudi Arabia, after consultation with the diplomatic officials in my home country of Switzerland, will act fairly to deny RAK's request to grant my extradition and so release me from detention just as any self-respecting decision maker or jurist would do.

"And for good measure, and as a further demonstration of my good faith in justice, I am prepared to answer all and any of the allegations in a court of arbitral forum in any jurisdiction where the independence of the judiciary is accepted and where fair and just judgments and arbitral awards can be assured, which could be either in Saudi Arabia or in Switzerland.

"Moreover, my Saudi business partner is prepared to provide a letter of guarantee.

"In reality however, I am the one who is still owed considerable sums by RAK and not only for my contributions to the development of the emirate but now also for damages for the false charges which amount to nothing more than extortion.

"Finally, I am grateful to the Saudi authorities for the conditions they have provided me with during my detention as well as to the Saudi legal counsel (Sheikh Salah Al-Hejailan) and my Swiss legal counsel (Mr Alexander Troller of LALIVE), concerned Swiss officials, my Saudi business partner and my family for their support at this personally trying time."

The Law Firm of Salah Al-Hejailan

full statement available here

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