(TheBlaze/AP) — Over the past year, there have been an alarming number of cases in which Saudi citizens were accused of being involved in human trafficking, but charges were dropped or officials remained tight-lipped about the details.
This hasn’t been the case for Homaidan al-Turki, a Saudi man convicted in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, false imprisonment and other counts.
A Colorado judge on Thursday denied the man’s request to return to his home country to complete his prison term for sexually abusing his Indonesian housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave. He is serving eight years to life in a state prison.
The Saudi government even asked the judge to allow al-Turki to be deported to Saudi Arabia, promising to enforce whatever prison terms Colorado imposed.
But Arapahoe County District Judge J. Mark Hannen said he does not have the authority under state law to reduce al-Turki’s sentence to probation so he can be deported to serve out his sentence in his native country.
Prosecutors also argued against al-Turki’s transfer, saying the man refused to participate in a required program for sex offenders. They also questioned whether his home country would carry out his sentence.
Hal Haddon, an attorney for al-Turki, did not immediately respond to a call and email for comment on the judge’s ruling.
Al-Turki, a linguist, was living in the Denver suburb of Aurora when he was indicted in 2005. He was charged with repeatedly raping the housekeeper, but the jury convicted him on a lesser charge of unlawful sexual contact.
Prosecutors allege the housekeeper spent four years cooking and cleaning for the al-Turki family while sleeping on a mattress on the basement floor and getting paid less than $2 a day. Al-Turki was accused of hiding her passport.
He denied the allegations, saying he was a victim of anti-Muslim sentiment.
The case prompted such an international uproar that the U.S. State Department sent Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and al-Turki’s family after al-Turki’s conviction.
More on the story via KUSA-TV:
Al-Turki’s case also became entangled with the slaying of Tom Clements, the head of Colorado’s prison system. Clements was shot to death at his home in March about a week after denying a request by al-Turki to be transferred to Saudi Arabia.
Prison officials have investigated the connection but say they have found nothing liking Al-Turki to the crime. But he remains a person of interest.
Paul Hollenbeck, an associate director of Colorado’s prisons, testified that Clements had been prepared to grant al-Turki a transfer but changed his mind after hearing from an FBI agent. Hollenbeck didn’t elaborate on what the agent said or why the transfer was denied.