DENVER (AP) – A Saudi national serving up to life in prison in Colorado on a sexual assault conviction was denied parole Tuesday.
Homaidan al-Turki’s won’t be eligible for another parole hearing until 2015, Colorado State Board of Parole Chairman Anthony Young ruled.
Al-Turki is serving a sentence of eight years to life following his conviction in 2006 of assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave.
Former Colorado Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements denied al-Turki’s request to be sent to Saudi Arabia to serve the remainder of his sentence a week before a gunman shot and killed Clements at his Monument home. Al-Turki’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit claiming that Colorado officials leaked word that one theory in the investigation of Clements’ killing was related to the transfer denial.
Colorado officials have linked Clements’ slaying to parolee Evan Ebel, a member of a white supremacist gang, but have said they continue to investigate whether others were involved. Investigators had dozens of leads following Clements’ slaying.
Al-Turki maintained his innocence during his 2006 trial, saying the charges stem from anti-Muslim sentiment following the 9/11 attacks. Al-Turki also says he has declined to participate in treatment because it conflicts with his Islamic faith.
Ann Tomsic, who prosecuted al-Turki in 2006, called al-Turki’s refusal to undergo treatment because of his faith a “cop out” and said treatment was the most important aspect of his sentence.
The parole board “must emphasize that if he’s not making progress toward treatment, he’s not getting out,” Tomsic argued.
When pointedly asked by Young during Tuesday’s hearing why he hasn’t participated in sexual offender rehabilitation programs, al-Turki answered: “I have to incriminate myself in order to be admitted to this program.”
Al-Turki said he would undergo treatment in Saudi Arabia if he were released from prison and allowed to return to his home country.
When Young asked him why he would undergo treatment in Saudi Arabia, but not in Colorado, al-Turki refused to discuss specifics of his case, citing advice from his attorneys and pending litigation, and instead emphasized his clean record while in prison. Al-Turki works as a paraprofessional in a prerelease program at Limon Correctional Facility.
“You are a good inmate but you are a bad citizen in our community. You’re expected to participate in sex offender treatment. Our expectations are very clear,” Young told al-Turki, urging him to him to participate in sexual offender treatment.
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.
Prison officials have said al-Turki was placed in protective custody after Clements’ slaying because of the media attention. Corrections spokeswoman Alison Morgan has declined to discuss whether prison officials are investigating any link.
Authorities said Ebel had the gun used to kill Clements in his possession. Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas authorities.
By P. SOLOMON BANDA, Associated Press
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