Hearing Set For Saudi Man Convicted Of Slavery
DENVER (AP) – A Saudi national serving eight years to life in prison in Colorado after being convicted in 2006 of sexually assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her a virtual slave for four years has been ordered to attend a parole hearing on Tuesday.
Homaidan al-Turki’s hearing will be at the Limon Correction Facility. Adrienne Jacobson, a Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman, said Thursday that al-Turki will not be allowed to waive his privilege to attend the hearing.
Jacobson said the hearing was unrelated to al-Turki’s earlier request to be sent to his native Saudi Arabia to serve the remainder of his sentence, which was denied by the Department of Corrections. Prosecutors opposed the request, fearing he would be released in Saudi Arabia. They also cited his refusal to follow Colorado law that requires sex offenders to undergo treatment while in prison.
The U.S. government has placed a hold on al-Turki, requiring that federal officials be notified before he is released, Jacobson said. No reason has been given for the federal request.
“It’s just time for him to see the parole board again. He has been parole-eligible for some time. He has been waiving his parole appearances and now he has to appear on Tuesday. This case is being handled like any other case,” she said.
Henry Solano, an attorney for al-Turki, said that under federal immigration law, al-Turki would be subject to deportation as a convicted felon if he is released. Saudi Arabia has agreed that if al-Turki is paroled and then deported there, it would put him under strict conditional supervision and require that he undergo appropriate treatment.
Al-Turki, a member of Denver’s Muslim community, was convicted in state court in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and extortion and sentenced to 28 years to life in prison. Prosecutors said he kept a housekeeper a virtual slave for four years and sexually assaulted her.
A judge reduced the sentence to eight years to life, based on a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that made al-Turki eligible for parole. But inmates are not released until they undergo treatment, part of which includes taking responsibility for their behavior and understanding patterns of the criminal behavior.
Solano contends there are problems with Colorado’s sex-offender treatment program, and certain aspects conflict with the Muslim faith. He said al-Turki would undergo treatment in Saudia Arabia if he is paroled and deported there.
Al-Turki insisted the case was politically motivated. He owned a company that some years ago sold recordings of sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and radical Muslim cleric who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Al-Awlaki attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins and lived in Denver in the late 1990s.
Al-Turki’s 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.
Prison officials, including the warden at Limon Correction Facility, have called al-Turki a model inmate who worked with other inmates in a pre-release program. He also contributed to an inmate fund to buy self-improvement DVDs, officials noted in a report.
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