Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saudis Stand Behind Woman Abuser

The Saudis have a new cause celebre, Homaidan Al-Turki, convicted earlier this year in Colorado of keeping an Indonesian woman housekeeper in slavery-like bondage.
Saudi officials have held high-level talks with US authorities in order to win the release of Homaidan Al-Turki, the Saudi man who was sentenced Aug. 31 by a Colorado court to 27 years to life in prison, the Saudi Press Agency said in a report yesterday.

“Senior Saudi officials have intervened at the highest level to resolve the case of Al-Turki,” the agency said, quoting its correspondent in Washington, Abdul Mohsen Al-Misfer. He did not disclose further details.

Al-Turki, a linguist who worked at a Denver publishing and translating firm, denied the charges and blamed anti-Muslim prejudice for his conviction. He also said that prosecutors persuaded the housekeeper to accuse him after they failed to build a case gainst him as a terrorist. (Arab News)

Of course, all that and more was raised in Al-Turki's trial, during which he was ably defended. The jury took seven hours, diminished some charges and convicted him of others in a celebration of the American justice system. Here's a write-up that occurred at the conclusion of the trial in June:

Prosecutors and FBI agents have said Al-Turki and his wife, Sarah Khonaizan, brought the now 24-year-old woman to Colorado to care for their five children and to cook and clean for the family. An affidavit said she spent four years with the family in the suburban home, sleeping on a mattress on the basement floor and getting paid less than $2 a day.

During the trial, Richilano told jurors the woman lived under the same customs as other women in the Al-Turki household. She chose to sleep in the family's unfinished basement so she could have privacy and voluntarily accepted the clothing and other restrictions the family imposed because she wanted to send money home to her impoverished relatives, he said.

She was arrested on immigration charges in November 2004 and placed in a safe house. She later reported the alleged assaults to a woman who had befriended her.

The Associated Press is not identifying the woman because of the sexual assault allegations.

Richilano also told jurors that prosecutors had no physical evidence to back up the accuser's story, which he said was invented so authorities would let her stay in the United States and avoid prosecution as an illegal immigrant overstaying her visa.

Tomsic said after the verdict that jurors had to deal with several cultural issues, including the victim's and Al-Turki's Muslim religion. For example, many originally may not have understood that the victim came from a country where crimes cannot be easily reported because of military rule.

"Most Americans just don't have any understanding of what these people are living in and coming from," Tomsic said.

She said the woman was to stay in the United States to testify against Al-Turki on a visa issued to victims of human trafficking. The woman has said she wanted to return to her home country once the proceedings are over, Tomsic said.

Al-Turki also faces an October federal trial on charges of forced labor, document servitude and harboring an illegal immigrant. In April, Al-Turki and Khonaizan agreed to pay the nanny about $64,000 in wages to settle a Labor Department lawsuit. (source)

Sounds like Al-Turki had his best shot to defend himself, that the system bent over backwards to consider every angle the defense could come up with. Still, the Saudi government wants to use him as the poster boy for American anti-Muslim sentiments.

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