IBRAHIM Faraj, a young Warrington schoolboy who was abducted and taken to Saudi Arabia, should never have been allowed out of the country.

As part of a series of articles commemorating the one-year anniversary of Ibrahim’s abduction, we will look at how exactly he was allowed to be taken out of the country, and examine an exclusive letter shown to the Warrington Guardian which should have prevented Ibra’s abduction.

Shortly before Ibrahim’s father Hamzah Faraj taking the former St Elphin's student out of the country, Ranem Elkhalidi, Ibrahim’s mother, filed for joint custody with Hamzah at Liverpool Family Court.

In court documents seen by the Warrington Guardian, either parent taking Ibra out of the country needed permission from the other parent, and from the court itself.

As well as this, due to Ranem’s position as a Palestinian asylum seeker, Ibra’s temporary travel document prohibited travel to only two countries: Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Warrington Guardian: Ibrahim (left) and his Mother Ranem (right)Ibrahim (left) and his Mother Ranem (right) (Image: Ranem Elkhalidi)

Despite this, on November 12, 2022, Hamzah was able to illegally remove his child from the country and has kept him in Saudi Arabia ever since. Saudi Arabia does not have an extradition treaty with the United Kingdom.

The Warrington Guardian earlier this year was able to confirm that Ibrahim was taken out of the country using emergency travel documents issued by the Saudi Arabian embassy in London.

A Saudi Arabian embassy official said: “In the event of a Saudi citizen losing his or her passport, the Saudi embassy, on proof of citizenship and a report from the relevant United Kingdom police authority, may issue a travel document to allow the citizen to return to Saudi Arabia.

“This procedure applies to all Saudi citizens, including Hamzah and Ibrahim Faraj. 

“In the case of Ibrahim Faraj (a Saudi citizen holding a Saudi passport), Hamzah Faraj completed all the necessary procedures relating to the loss of a passport.

“The embassy, upon verifying the required documents, issued a travel document for Ibrahim Faraj. No passport was issued for Ibrahim Faraj.”

Ibrahim’s passport was not lost; however, it had been handed into the UK government following Ranem’s application for asylum for her and her son. This, however, was likely not mentioned by Hamzah Faraj when speaking to the Saudi embassy.

An important factor within this, however, is that the Saudi embassy contacted ‘a relevant United Kingdom police authority.’

Cheshire Police have confirmed they would not be relevant to this aspect of the case, whilst the Home Office refused to comment on requests questioning whether they would have been the ones to be contacted regarding this.

Despite this, however, the Warrington Guardian has been exclusively shown a letter by Ranem Elkhalidi which was sent to the Saudi consulate months prior to Ibrahim’s abduction.

This letter, sent via email and mail in Arabic and English pleaded with the Saudi consulate to under no circumstances help Hamzah remove their son from the country.

Warrington Guardian: Ibrahim Faraj, whose mother hasn't seen him in over a yearIbrahim Faraj, whose mother hasn't seen him in over a year (Image: Ranem Elkhalidi)

An extract from this letter reads: “For all these reasons, I ask Your Excellency to look with the eyes of justice and mercy and not to give my husband a passport for our son Ibrahim or to help my husband to take Ibrahim out of Britain.”

Further, there are no checks of outstanding court orders at the border when leaving the United Kingdom. Checks at the border would have found an outstanding court order specifying Ibrahim should not be taken out of the country.

According to Ranem, who was in possession of Ibra’s travel documents at the time, the court order provided to her ‘was a waste of the paper it was written on’.