DENVER - A Saudi national serving up to life in prison in Colorado on a sexual assault conviction has been denied parole.
A state parole official rejected Homaidan al-Turki's request at a hearing Tuesday. The parole official says al-Turki needs to participate in sex offender treatment before he can be released.
He has refused to take part in the treatment. A prosecutor said told the parole board al-Turki believes sex offender treatment conflicts with his Islamic faith.
Al-Turki is serving a sentence of eight years to life. He was convicted in 2006 of assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave.
Al-Turki's hearing was held at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at a prison in Limon.
State officials say the hearing is unrelated to al-Turki's earlier request to be sent to Saudi Arabia to serve the remainder of his sentence, which was denied by the state Department of Corrections.
Prosecutors opposed the request, fearing he would be released in Saudi Arabia.
Investigators also looked into whether the decision had anything to do with the shooting death of Colorado's chief prison administrator Tom Clements in March.
At the start of the hearing, Arapahoe County trial prosecutor Ann Tomsic spoke on behalf of al-Turki's victim, who has returned to her home in Jakarta, Indonesia.
"The victim wants you to know and wants the defendant to know that he needs to repent and acknowledge what he's done in order to have any hope of getting better," Tomsic told the parole board. "She feels that it's very important that he try and better himself through participation in sex-offender treatment."
"It gets a little tiresome to hear Mr. al-Turki described as a model inmate," Tomsic stressed, "because Mr. al-Turki has repeatedly refused to participate in...sex offender treatment. He claims that this is somehow inconsistent with Islam. I would submit to you that it is not," the prosecutor added.
"First of all, Mr. Clements assured that his treatment could be done in a culturally sensitive manner. Secondly, both Islam and sex offender treatment are very dedicated to restraint and appropriate behavior," Tomsic said.
"Again, Tom Clements, prior to his death, wrote a letter to al-Turki, telling him that this [sex offender treatment] could be done in a culturally sensitive way and that it needs to occur before he is returned to Saudi Arabia," the prosecutor stressed.
Parole board chairman, Dr. Anthony Young, repeatedly asked al-Turki if he had attended sex offender treatment, but had trouble getting an answer.
Al-Turki repeatedly said that he pleaded not guilty at trial and had been advised by his attorneys to not speak about his case, because of his pending appeal of the conviction. The inmate also talked about his desire to return to Saudi Arabia where he said he would be supervised by a government "conditional release program."
"My understanding at this point…[is] I have to incriminate myself in order to be admitted to this [sex offender treatment] program," al-Turki said.
"Now, answer my question," Young said. "Have you been involved with the sex offender treatment program, yes or no?"
"No. The answer is no," al-Turki replied.
"Okay, tell me about the offense for which you were incarcerated," Young said.
Al-Turki replied that he has been advised by his lawyers "not to discuss the facts of my case." The inmate then suggested he could have his attorney respond to the question.
"No, I'm asking you. This is your parole application hearing. You are to speak," Young said.
"Yes. Sir," al-Turki replied.
"Now, you were convicted of a sexual assault. You have several convictions. Are you unwilling to speak those?" Young asked.
Al-Turki began to speak, but Young cut him off, saying, "No, listen. Are you unwilling to speak to the nature of offense that you were convicted of?"
"I'm convicted of the lesser offense of sexual contact. I wasn't convicted of sexual assault," al-Turki said.
"Hold it. Stop right there," Young said. "I need you to answer my questions. OK, I need you to any my questions very specifically."
"Yes, sir," the inmate said.
"I will allow you later to make a statement, if you wish. But right now I need to get some information from you. Exactly what did you do to the victim?" Young asked.
"Uh, I have pled not guilty in my trial," al-Turki said. "And I'm strictly asked not to discuss any details of my case because of the pending legal matters. I thank you for your understanding."
"Well, Mr. al-Turki, it is very important in this country that when there are people with your type of sentence, we expect for you to be involved with the sex offender treatment program," Young said. "That is the expectation of the Board of Parole. You are a convicted sex offender. According to your file, you also enslaved the victim for a number of years while she was being sexually abuse. This is what you were convicted of. I'm not going to retry your case. You have a conviction already. I need to know whether or not you take any responsibility for the offense."
"Uh, once again," al-Turki said, "I've been asked by my lawyers not to discuss the details of my case because of pending legal matters."