Saudi Inmate Sues To Get Files On Denied Transfer
DENVER (AP) – A Saudi man convicted of sexual assault has filed a lawsuit to get records on why his request to serve his sentence in his home country was denied.
The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that Colorado’s Department of Corrections denied Homaidan al-Turki the right to inspect his files. It also claims that corrections officials gave the records to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department as part of an ongoing investigation.
El Paso County sheriff’s officials are investigating the March 19 slaying of corrections chief Tom Clements. A week before he was killed, Clements denied al-Turki’s request to serve out his sentence in his native Saudi Arabia.
Al-Turki’s lawyers have previously claimed that Colorado officials improperly leaked word that investigators were probing whether the killing was related to the denial.
In the lawsuit filed in El Paso County District Court, al-Turki’s attorneys said: “That ‘theory’ has since been wholly discredited.”
“They have had plenty and sufficient time to review substantial information and they have not been able to establish a connection between Mr. al-Turki and the tragic murder of Clements,” Henry Solano, one of al-Turki’s attorneys said.
Solano said that the state has released documents more closely related to a criminal investigation, al-Turki’s prison spending records, and not the underlying reason he came under suspicion – the denial of his transfer.
“That’s what this lawsuit is about,” Solano said.
Evan Ebel, a parolee who had spent years in solitary confinement and who is described by authorities as a white supremacist gang member had the gun used to kill Clements in his possession. Ebel died in a shootout with Texas authorities two days after Clements’ slaying. Authorities have said they continue to look at a number of angles in a broad investigation into Clements’ death, including whether others were involved.
Corrections department spokeswoman Alison Morgan said she did not know about the lawsuit and referred calls to the attorney general’s office. A spokeswoman for the AG’s office did not immediately return a phone call.
Al-Turki lost his latest bid for parole on Tuesday when Colorado State Board of Parole Chairman Anthony Young said al-Turki must undergo sexual offender rehabilitation before he’s released from prison. Clements denied al-Turki’s request for a transfer for the same reason.
Authorities have said that al-Turki kept his Indonesian housekeeper a virtual slave and sexually assaulted her over four years. Al-Turki, a well-known member of Denver’s Muslim community, has maintained his innocence and claimed the charges were a result of anti-Muslim sentiment following the 9/11 attacks.
He was convicted in state court 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, which was reduced to 8 years to life in 2011 on a legal technicality.
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.
In a lawsuit filed in Denver District Court, Al-Turki’s attorneys allege that Clements had approved al-Turki’s transfer in January but attempted to reverse himself in March following opposition from state prosecutors and federal authorities, along with public outcry. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief of staff, Roxane White, previously said that Clements reversed his decision following a discussion with the U.S. Department of Justice.
White said the information provided by the federal government is classified.
Attorneys for al-Turki also allege that prison officials mistreated al-Turki by placing him in solitary confinement following Clements’ slaying.
– By P. Solomon Banda, AP Writer
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