Colorado Attorney General John Suthers flew to Saudi Arabia this week to reassure government officials there that Homaidan Al-Turki was treated fairly when he was convicted of sexually abusing an Indonesian nanny held a virtual captive in his Aurora home.
Suthers sat knee-to-knee for an hour with King Abdullah and also met with Crown Prince Sultan, Saudi journalists and relatives of Al-Turki during his weeklong trip to the capital city of Riyadh, Deputy Attorney General Jason Dunn said Friday.
“There was a lot of public attention in Saudi Arabia on this case,” Dunn said, adding that “misperceptions” there about the U.S. judicial system and Colorado in particular convinced U.S. officials that the highly unusual trip was warranted.
In June, Al-Turki was convicted in Arapahoe County of 12 counts of unlawful sexual contact with force, one count of theft of services over $15,000, false imprisonment and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Al-Turki has been portrayed in the Saudi press as a victim of the U.S. judicial system’s bias against Muslims. Many Saudis say Al-Turki would not have been convicted in his own country.
The Saudi government gave Al-Turki $400,000 to post bail on the charges.
During the trial, the 24-year- old victim testified that she was brought to Colorado from Saudi Arabia by the Al-Turki family in 2000 and worked and lived with them in Aurora for four years. She worked seven days a week and was paid $150 a month, but Al-Turki and his wife kept most of that money.
She also testified that Al-Turki took her passport and that he repeatedly sexually abused her.
At his sentencing, Al-Turki said he would not apologize for “things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit.”
“The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors,” he told the judge. “Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution.”
Prosecutors said it was a clear case of human trafficking….
Suthers’ trip this week was sponsored by the U.S. State Department in consultation with the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia and Gov. Bill Owens.
While there, Suthers explained how the U.S. judicial system works and said that “in Colorado, crimes of this sort are dealt with severely,” Dunn said. “He wasn’t apologizing for it, but he wanted them to understand why the result of the case was what it was.”
The federal government picked up the tab for Suthers to spend the week in Saudi Arabia with Owens’ chief counsel, Jon Anderson, Dunn said.
We wouldn’t want our friends and allies to get their feelings hurt.