RIYADH — Moroccan student Ibrahim Saadoun and his parents have no words to express their gratitude to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for saving the boy from captivity. The Russian authorities had sentenced the Saudi student to death purportedly for “carrying out mercenary activity” in Ukraine.
Ibrahim arrived in Casablanca on Saturday night from Saudi Arabia, after he was released by Russia along with nine other foreign prisoners following the successful mediation of the Crown Prince. Ibrahim was taken as a prisoner while he was pursuing his higher studies in Ukraine.
Ibrahim, who had a rousing welcome at Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport, expressed his happiness at his return to his homeland, saying, “I am happy to be back my home.” He showed no regrets about his participation in the fight against the Russians, emphasizing his conviction of the “justice in the Ukrainian issue.”
A large number of people including Ibrahim’s family and relatives and the media gathered at the Casablanca airport upon arrival of the plane carrying Ibrahim at about 8 pm on Saturday. His father Al-Taher Saadoun was among the crowd who were eagerly waiting to see his arrival. But the Moroccan authorities took Ibrahim out of a back gate, to evade the flurry of journalists’’ cameras, and took him directly to his home in the Hassani neighborhood in the city.
Saadoun’s mother seemed moved while embracing her son back home, which was overwhelmed with journalists and cameramen, saying, “I missed my son, and if I had not thought about his future, I would not have sent him abroad to pursue higher studies. I had spent money to send him abroad for studies so that he would have a better future, but the winds blew toward what the ships did not want,” she added.
His father Al-Taher told the media that he was happy with the return of his son, and thanked the Moroccan and Saudi authorities, who contributed to facilitating his return. “I thank Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his initiative,” he said.
Regarding Ibrahim’s future, Al-Taher said that his son is still young at the beginning of his educational path, adding, “he will undergo psychological rehabilitation because of his suffering in captivity, and after that, he will continue his studies in Morocco.”
Last April, Russian forces arrested Ibrahim, along with the Britons – Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, in the city of Mariupol in the separatist Donetsk region, and he was sentenced to death for “carrying out the mercenary activity.”