DENVER – Just weeks after a Department of Corrections (DOC) spokesperson indicated that convicted sex offender Homaidan al-Turki’s application to return to his native Saudi Arabia had cleared initial reviews by prison officials, the Hickenlooper administration denied the request, citing al-Turki’s refusal to participate in rehabilitation programs.
“To date you have declined those opportunities to be assessed for potential placement in treatment…based upon religious reasons / conflicts with your Islamic faith” wrote DOC Executive Director Tom Clements in a letter to al-Turki dated Monday. “After a thorough review and careful consideration of all information provided to me in this matter, I have decided not to support your request for transfer to Saudi Arabia at this time.”
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler was more blunt.
“Our victim endured abuse and deprivation in this case,” said Brauchler. ”Justice demands that her attacker remain in prison for the remainder of his sentence regardless of his wealth or nationality.”
A Tuesday Associated Press report noted that “[s]tate prosecutors had opposed al-Turki’s foreign national offender transfer application, fearing he would have been released up returning to Saudi Arabia.”
Mr. al-Turki made headlines and triggered national outrage in 2006 when he was arrested for holding his maid against her will and sexually abusing her over a period of several years. He was convicted on sexual assault, extortion and false imprisonment charges and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Mr. al-Turki, who comes from an influential Saudi family, has consistently argued that he is a victim of religious persecution.
“We are Muslim. We are different. The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors is a focal point of the prosecution,” al-Turki said during testimony.
The Colorado Observer was the first to report that the decision whether or not to release al-Turki rested with a Hickenlooper political appointee.
That exclusive angle was mentioned by Revealing Politics’ Kelly Maher on 9News’ new show, “Balance of Power”, which taped last Thursday. The following day, columnist Vincent Carroll of The Denver Post, which has a content sharing partnership with 9News, penned a column calling on the Hickenlooper administration to deny al-Turki’s request.
“Mr. al-Turki is a convicted sex offender who has never accepted responsibility for his crimes nor chosen to undergo sex offender treatment,” said Brauchler spokesperson Lisa Pinto. ”By denying his request, the DOC is protecting the community and respecting the young woman who was brutalized by the defendant.”