Appeal likely in Saudi man’s Colorado sex offense
DENVER (AP) – A Saudi man convicted in Colorado of sexually abusing his Indonesian housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave will probably appeal after a judge denied his request to be released and sent home, a defense lawyer said Friday.
Another lawyer said he is considering a new legal challenge on separate grounds.
Denver attorney Hal Haddon said he has not been allowed to speak to Homaidan al-Turki (HO’-ma-don al-TUR’-kee) since a state judge ruled Thursday he had no authority to grant his release, but Haddon said he expects his client will want to appeal.
The judge didn’t rule that it was inappropriate for al-Turki to be released on probation, only that the judge did not have the power to do so, Haddon said.
He said the ruling was devastating for al-Turki’s wife and children in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Turki, a linguist who was living and working in Colorado, was convicted in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, false imprisonment and other counts. He was sentenced to eight years to life in prison.
He denied the allegations, saying he was a victim of anti-Muslim sentiment.
Probation would have allowed him to serve the rest of his sentence in Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials promised to enforce whatever terms Colorado imposed.
Colorado prosecutors said there was no way to ensure Saudi Arabia would carry out the sentence. They also said al-Turki was not eligible for release because he refused to participate in a required prison program for sex offenders.
Al-Turki’s lawyers said his religion prevented him from participating in the program because it would require him to look at photos of women in bathing suits or undergarments. They also said he would have to confess to the crimes, which they say he cannot do because he is challenging his conviction.
Another attorney for al-Turki, John Portman of Denver, said he is considering another challenge based on court rules that allow people whose appeals have been denied to contest convictions on several grounds, including newly discovered evidence.
Portman declined to say what grounds were being considered and when a challenge might be filed.
Last year, state prison officials denied al-Turki’s request to be transferred to Saudi custody under an international treaty.
The prisons director at the time, Tom Clements, was ready to approve the transfer but denied it after an FBI agent contacted prison officials, according to testimony during court hearings last year. The officials haven’t said why Clements changed his mind or what the FBI agent said.
About a week after the treaty transfer was denied, Clements was shot and killed. Prison officials said they investigated but found nothing linking al-Turki to the crime.
Still, prosecutors said in November that al-Turki remained a person of interest in the Clements investigation.
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