Homaidan AlTurki » News...
Al-Turki's Family Blames Anti-Muslim Sentiment for Arrest
24-9-2006
بقلم Arab News
"...blamed anti-Muslim sentiment for Al-Turki’s prosecution, saying that a key factor for his imprisonment was that he was preaching Islam. “Homaidan had trust ..."

RIYADH, 24 September 26 — The wife and two children of a Saudi man in Aurora, Colorado, found guilty by a US court on Aug. 31 of sexual abuse and imprisonment of his 24-year-old Indonesian maid have returned in the Kingdom.

The family issued a statement to the press after Sarah Al-Khonaizan and her children arrived in Riyadh on Friday.

The statement, signed by Hamad Al-Khonaizan, Sarah's brother, blamed anti-Muslim sentiment for Al-Turki's prosecution, saying that a key factor for his imprisonment was that he was preaching Islam.

"Homaidan had trust in the American justice system and on the democratic nature of the country," the statement said. "The country that he studied in and where he excelled in school was not fair toward him. They searched for a means to bring him down and tried many ways until they found the weapon that they could use against him, which was the Indonesian maid."

The United States guarantees both freedom of religion and freedom of speech in its constitution. Nihad Awad, the director of the Council for American-Islamic Relations, said in September that Al-Turki's religion or nationality has not been attacked as far as he knows.

"I have not seen any reports within the US that attack his nationality or his religion," said Awad. "But I have spoken to many people from Saudi Arabia who believe he's in jail because he's Muslim and getting a harsh sentence because he's Muslim."

Exacerbating this perception of anti-Muslim sentiment playing a role prosecutors in the case have admitted that Al-Turki had been on a terrorist watch list prior to his arrest for maid abuse. They have refused to provide further details saying they are irrelevant to the case pertaining to the abuse of the maid.

Al-Turki's lawyer, John Richilano, hit upon this issue and claimed that the information pertaining to counter-terrorism surveillance against his client is relevant to the case. Prosecutors disagreed and the judge ruled with them on the matter.

"The prosecution, which is playing out in Denver's federal court, is among a new generation of post-9/11 cases across the country in which national-security interests have run headlong into defendants' right to due process," reported Denver Post staff writer Alicia Caldwell in a report published in April.

Al-Turki was sentenced in Arapahoe County District Court in Colorado on Aug. 31 to 27 years to life after being found guilty of 12 counts of forced sexual assault and two misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment and conspiracy to imprison. He was sentenced to an additional eight years for theft because he never paid the maid her salary.

Sarah was deported after serving two months in prison related to Labor Department violations: Paying the maid less than $2 a day for more than four years.



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