Sébastien Raoult, a 21-year-old French student accused by the FBI of being a cybercriminal, has been imprisoned in Morocco for two months. He is threatened with extradition to the United States and faces a life prison sentence.
It has been two months since Sébastien Raoult, a 21-year-old Frenchman, has been incarcerated in Tiflet 2 prison, near Rabat, Morocco. He was arrested on June 1, 2022 as he was about to board for Brussels. This incarceration was carried out at the request of the American authorities. According to the FBI, he is wanted for acts of cybercrime against American companies. An Interpole red card had been issued against him by a Washington State prosecutor.
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Sébastien Raoult: 5 questions about the case of the young Frenchman imprisoned in Morocco, accused of being a cyberpirate by the FBI
In Morocco to “discover the world”
The young man is from Epinal in the Vosges. Until last December, he was enrolled in the second year of studies at Epitech, a computer school in Nancy. His training was specialized in information technology, cybersecurity, programming and blockchain. Quoted by The world, his father affirms that he would have entered “in a phase of rupture with studies”. He had gone to Morocco because, still according to his father, “he wanted to live, to discover the world and to travel and had the impression of wasting his time at school”.
Member of “ShinyHunters”
The Obs, who revealed the case, reveals that the FBI suspects the young Frenchman of being part of the “ShinyHunters” hacker group. They would be considered by the American authorities as “prolific cybercriminals”. Formed in 2020, they are believed to have hacked 200 million pieces of data from a dozen major companies. In particular Tokopedia, an Indonesian e-commerce player, or Microsoft. The data was then resold on the dark web, the hidden part of the internet where information is exchanged in a more confidential way.
Washington requests the extradition of Sébastien Raoult for “conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and abuse”, “serious identity theft” and “electronic fraud”. His IP address would have been linked to the offenses by the FBI. In addition, online messages attributed to the young man would have reported these hacks.
A sentence of 116 years
Sébastien Raoult’s lawyer, Me Philippe Ohayon, says he risks 116 years in prison in the United States if he is extradited across the Atlantic. He denounces “inhuman and degrading treatment”. For the lawyer, “the extradition request submitted by the United States amounts in fact to exposing him to a life sentence prohibited by article 3 of the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) “. In France, these offenses would be punishable by a maximum of five years in prison according to Me Ohayon.
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Moroccan justice says it is in favor of the extradition of Frenchman Sébastien Raoult to the United States
He therefore requests the extradition of the young man to France, rather than to the United States, with the public prosecutor of Epinal. “We are not looking for impunity, we are only asking to be tried where we can defend ourselves” reaffirmed the lawyer to our colleagues.
A request rejected
This request to open a preliminary investigation was rejected by the public prosecutor “on the grounds that the territory of the Vosges would have no jurisdiction to deal with this file” explained Me Ohayon at a press conference.
The father of the young Frenchman, Paul Raoult, is asking French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to mobilize so that she can contact the American authorities to prevent this extradition.
Éric Dupont-Moretti said at the microphone of BFM TV after a visit to a Marseille prison that “Moroccan justice has been requested by American justice” and assures that “we do not have the possibility at this stage to intervene”. Recalling all the same that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was “mobilized on this issue”.