DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Colorado prison officials have denied a Saudi linguist’s request to be sent to his home country to serve his sentence of up to life in prison for sexually assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her a virtual slave for four years.
Prison officials notified Homaidan al-Turki of the decision Tuesday, said Adrienne Jacobson, a Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman.
Prosecutors had opposed al-Turki’s foreign national offender transfer application, fearing he would have been released upon returning to Saudi Arabia.
In denying al-Turki’s request, DOC Executive Director Tom Clements said state law requires sex offenders to undergo treatment while in prison.
“To date you have declined those opportunities to be assessed for potential placement in treatment,” Clements wrote. “I have decided not to support your request for transfer to Saudi Arabia at this time.”
Al-Turki maintained his innocence during his trial and said the charges stem from anti-Muslim sentiment following the 9/11 attacks. Al-Turki also reportedly claimed to decline to participate in treatment because of conflicts with his Islamic faith, though Clements noted in his letter that those concerns are resolved during treatment.
Al-Turki was convicted in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and extortion – all felonies – as well as misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment. He was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison. The U.S. attorney’s office dropped similar federal charges.
U.S. Department of Justice officials declined to comment, saying the decision had not been officially announced.
Lisa Pinto, a spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, said DA George Brauchler will “vigorously” prosecute human trafficking in his jurisdiction.
“Mr. Al-Turki is a convicted sex offender who has never accepted responsibility for his crimes nor chosen to undergo sex offender treatment,” she said. “By denying his request, the DOC is protecting the community and respecting the young woman who was brutalized by the defendant.”
A judge in 2011 reduced al-Turki’s minimum sentence by 20 years, based on a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that now makes al-Turki eligible for parole. But inmates are not released until they undergo treatment, part of which includes taking responsibility for the behavior and understanding patterns of the criminal behavior.
Clements wrote to al-Turki that his participation in sex offender treatment “would reflect positive progression and, although there can be no guarantees … could result in your eventual parole or transfer to a Saudi Arabian prison.”
Prison officials, including the warden at Limon Correction Facility where he’s incarcerated, reviewed al-Turki’s application and called him a model inmate who works with other inmates in a pre-release program. He also contributed to an inmate fund to buy self-improvement DVDs, officials noted in their initial review.
Al-Turki brought his wife, five children and the housekeeper to Colorado in 1995 and was a student at the University of Colorado. He was a well-known member of Denver’s Muslim community.
Prosecutors said the Indonesian housekeeper, who was in her early 20s and sexually assaulted over four years, has since returned to her home country.
Al-Turki’s 2006 conviction angered Saudi officials and prompted the U.S. State Department to send Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and al-Turki’s family.
According to court documents, al-Turki first came under investigation when authorities examined whether his operation of a business violated terms of his student visa. Al-Turki owned Al-Basheer Publications & Translations, which distributed Islamic works in English.
Al-Turki’s company holds the copyright to “The Lives of the Prophets,” a CD set of Islamic sermons that tell stories about Muslim prophets recorded by the U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed along with his 16-year-old son in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Al-Awlaki attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins and lived in Denver in the late 1990s.
LINK: Read Clements’ Letter
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