Canada's fugitive turns up in Oregon prison, now faces extradition as suspected child rapist

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Bryan Denson
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Article date: 
Saturday, September 5, 2015
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Canadian authorities sent out a fugitive alert last year in the hunt for a man suspected of raping a teenage girl in Alberta – apparently unaware that he was already behind bars in a federal prison in Oregon...

Raed Arook's travels in and out of custody – including three illegal entries into the U.S. – is documented in U.S. court papers...

Canadian authorities now want to get the 39-year-old Arook back into custody on their side of the border, and U.S. officials want to comply under a long-standing extradition treaty between the two North American neighbors.

But Arook is contesting Canada's push to extradite him to Alberta, where the Crown Prosecutors Office wants to put him on trial for the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in his Edmonton hotel room.

Agents discovered that Arook had first entered the U.S. illegally on April 7, 2007, tripping a Customs and Border Patrol surveillance camera five miles west of the Sweet Grass, Montana...

The U.S. apparently sent Arook back to Canada that June. But a few months later, on Oct. 17, 2007, he was convicted of drug possession in Houston...

U.S. authorities deported Arook to Israel on April 22, 2008.

More than five years later, according to government court papers, a 15-year-old girl in Edmonton, identified as "C.S.," gave authorities an account of her encounter with Arook on Sept. 10, 2013:

The two met outside the Strathcona Hotel, where Arook invited the girl up to his suite to do some methamphetamine. She agreed and entered the hotel lobby with the Israeli....

A desk clerk later told police that hotel workers discovered a fire escape ladder had been pulled down, a common way for hotel guests to sneak people in.

The girl told investigators that she entered the hotel room, where she and Arook and two other males smoked and snorted meth. She recalled waking about 2 p.m. the following day in Arook's bed, both of them naked, and found that she had difficulty walking. She went to Stollery Children's Hospital, where a sexual assault examination showed she had suffered abrasions to her genitalia.

Edmonton police arrested Arook and on Sept. 24, 2013, charged him with sexual assault and sexual interference. Both charges carry maximum sentences of up to 10 years in prison. But a little more than four months later, on Feb. 12, 2014, he posted a $5,000 recognizance bond and was released, according to Canadian authorities.

Arook was supposed to appear for trial last September, but failed to appear at the Court of Queens Bench of Alberta. Canadian authorities issued an arrest warrant the following day. But he was nowhere to be found.

At 12:35 p.m. that very day, a sheriff's deputy in Toole County, Montana, spotted Arook walking south on Interstate 15, about seven miles south of the U.S.-Canada border station at Sweet Grass...

The deputy took Arook to the sheriff's office, where he was questioned by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Arook gave them a phony name...

Arook later gave them his true name, and he was charged in federal court with illegally re-entering the U.S.

Last December, U.S. authorities sentenced Arook to one year and one day behind bars and sent him to the government prison complex in Sheridan, 50 miles from Portland.

Somehow, police and court officials in Canada never got the word.

Early last March, the Edmonton Police Service put out a bulletin that listed Arook as a fugitive....

"Arook's current whereabouts are not known," according to the police bulletin, which urged anyone with information about him to contact police or the Crime Stoppers tip line.

But U.S. authorities knew where he was. Arook was serving the last five months of his prison term in Sheridan. On Aug. 11, he completed his federal time and deputy U.S. Marshals transferred him from the prison to a downtown Portland jail.

Arook is now locked up in the Inverness Jail in Northeast Portland, where he's being held on a provisional arrest warrant out of Canada.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman is scheduled to hold an extradition hearing on Oct. 30.

Gorder filed a provisional arrest warrant in August that seeks to extradite Arook to Canada, rather than deport him to Israel.

Lawyers in the Oregon Federal Public Defender's Office, representing Arook in his fight to avoid extradition, pointed out in a recent court motion that his heritage is Palestinian, religion is Muslim and citizenship is Israeli. Therefore they seek U.S. documents that might indicate Arook would suffer political or religious persecution in Canada.

Raed Arook was booked into multiple police agencies in Canada and the U.S. after his 2013 arrest in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The 39-year-old Palestinian Muslim, who holds Israeli citizenship, is now fighting extradition to Canada, where he faces rape charges. His lawyers suggest he might be persecuted for his political or religious views.