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US unveils visa restriction policy tied to Saudi fugitive case

The new policy permits visa denials for foreign officials who help their citizens evade the US justice system.

WASHINGTON — The State Department has announced a new visa restriction tool named for an Oregon teen killed by a Saudi hit-and-run driver who allegedly fled the United States with his government's help. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday unveiled the Fallon Smart Policy, under which the State Department can restrict visas for foreign officials and their immediate family members who “intervened in a manner beyond the reasonable provision of consular services” to help their nationals accused of serious crimes escape justice in American courts.  

The State Department announcement did not identify which, if any, foreign government officials are barred from entering the United States under the new policy. 

Fallon Smart, a 15-year-old from Portland, was killed in a hit-and-run incident in 2016. The Oregonian newspaper reported that the man charged in her death, Saudi student Abdulrahman Noorah, fled the country with the assistance of the Saudi government two weeks before his trial.

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