Sébastien Raoult case: a request from the lawyer for the Frenchman imprisoned in Morocco rejected

A setback in the field of French justice. The administrative court of Paris rejected on Tuesday a request from the lawyer of Sébastien Raoult, a French student arrested in Morocco at the request of the United States which accuses him of cybercrime, intended to avoid his extradition across the Atlantic.

During an interim release hearing on Friday, his lawyer, Me Philippe Ohayon, had asked the administrative judge to order the Keeper of the Seals Éric Dupond-Moretti to send the documents of a request for mutual criminal assistance executed by France and formulated by the American authorities in July 2020, then renewed until May 16, 2022, concerning the “ShinyHunters”, a group of hackers.

The lawyer argued in particular that these documents were likely to demonstrate that the French courts were competent to prosecute Sébastien Raoult, suspected by the FBI of being part of this group of hackers, and therefore allow his extradition to France rather than the United States, where he faces a sentence of 116 years in prison. The 21-year-old was arrested on May 31 in Morocco as he was about to board a plane to return to France and has since been imprisoned near Rabat.

Morocco in favor of extradition to the United States

In its decision on Tuesday, the administrative court considered that the administrative judge was “not competent to order the communication of these acts”. “Since the minister maintained that he was bound by a kind of confidentiality clause, we are going to ask the minister to ask, or even demand from the Americans, the lifting of this clause”, reacted Me Ohayon. “If he doesn’t, that means there’s something wrong.”

“In this final episode of the Sébastien Raoult affair, we observe that everyone is passing the buck, no one is competent and everything is confidential. From this observation, the Americans do what they want in France, impose their rules of rights on us, despite our own laws, ”lamented Paul Raoult, the father of the young man.

The American authorities are calling for the extradition of the student from Épinal for his alleged involvement in a cybercrime case targeting companies, American in particular including Microsoft.

The Moroccan justice gave in July a favorable opinion to this extradition, considering that the alleged offenses had “been committed by a Frenchman on the American territory via the unauthorized connection to the computers of companies domiciled on the American territory”. However, the extradition itself can only be decided by the Moroccan political power.

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