Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Sentence in Colo. sex-slave case partially reduced

February 25, 2011

CENTENNIAL — A Saudi linguist convicted of sexually assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her a virtual slave for four years won a partial reduction of his prison sentence from a Colorado judge Friday.

Homaidan al-Turki was sentenced to between eight years and life in prison. District Judge J. Mark Hannen in Centennial cited al-Turki's good behavior in prison in reducing the original sentence of 28 years to life.

Al-Turki insists he is innocent and a victim of anti-Muslim sentiment. His case has angered Saudi authorities — several of whom attended Friday's hearing — 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 after al-Turki's 2006 conviction.

More than 100 supporters of al-Turki crowded the courthouse Friday.

Prosecutors opposed any sentence reduction. Appellate courts have upheld al-Turki's conviction, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case last year.

Al-Turki brought his wife, five children and an Indonesian housekeeper to Colorado in 1995, and he studied at the University of Colorado. He was a well-known member of Denver's Muslim community, contributing financially to the Colorado Muslim Society and an Islamic elementary school in Aurora, said Sheikh Abu-Omar Almubarac, a society co-founder.

According to court documents, al-Turki first came under investigation when authorities examined whether his operation of a business violated terms of his student visa. Al-Turki owned Al-Basheer Publications & Translations, which distributed Islamic works in English.

After interviewing the housekeeper, prosecutors brought the assault and slavery charges against al-Turki.

At trial, al-Turki testified that FBI agents persuaded the housekeeper to accuse him of imprisoning and sexually assaulting her after they failed to build a case that he was a terrorist. The woman initially denied any sexual abuse and made the allegations after being detained by immigration officials.

Al-Turki's attorneys claim that federal officials had been investigating him for alleged terrorist ties since 1995. No terrorism charges were filed.

A state jury convicted him 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. Similar federal charges were dropped.

Al-Turki's company holds the copyright to "The Lives of the Prophets," a CD set of sermons recorded by the U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Thought to be hiding in Yemen, al-Awlaki is believed to have inspired and even plotted recent attempted attacks on the U.S., including the failed December 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner and the unsuccessful plot to send mail bombs on planes from Yemen to the U.S. Al-Awlaki also is believed to have inspired the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, and had ties to some of the 9/11 hijackers.

Federal law enforcement authorities in Denver have declined to say whether it was al-Turki's relationship with al-Awlaki that brought al-Turki under scrutiny.

Al-Turki has filed a federal lawsuit claiming guards at the Limon Correctional Facility denied him medical attention as he passed a kidney stone. That suit is pending.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.