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Saudi Arabia seeks native convicted of sex assault

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DAN ELLIOTT | October 24, 2013 01:36 PM EST | AP

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — A Saudi Arabian official weighed in Thursday on the case of a Saudi man serving a Colorado prison sentence for sexually assaulting his housekeeper and treating her as a virtual slave.

Homaidan al-Turki is serving a minimum eight-year sentence, but could remain in prison indefinitely if he refuses sex offender treatment. He appeared in court Thursday to ask a judge to release him from prison and allow him to serve probation instead. He seeks to be deported to his home country to serve the rest of his sentence.

Fahed Al-Rawaf of the Saudi embassy in Washington appeared on al-Turki's behalf Thursday and asked the court to release al-Turki for more appropriate treatment at home.

He outlined the treatment al-Turki would receive in Saudi Arabia and said that it would include family participation and religious and cultural education not available to him in a Colorado prison.

Asked by Judge J. Mark Hannen if al-Turki's sentence was compatible with Colorado's, al-Rawaf repeatedly said Saudi officials would honor any conditions of probation imposed by Colorado.

Al-Turki was convicted in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and extortion. He was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison.

A judge in 2011 reduced al-Turki's minimum sentence by 20 years, based on a Colorado Supreme Court ruling.

Al-Turki maintains his innocence and says the charges stem from anti-Muslim sentiment following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Authorities say that al-Turki and his wife brought an Indonesian housekeeper to Colorado to care for their five children and to cook and clean.

Former Colorado prisons' chief Tom Clements denied al-Turki's request to serve out his sentence in Saudi Arabia in March shortly before Clements was shot and killed when answering his front door.

Al-Turki's attorneys accuse officials of leaking word that the "main working theory" in the slaying investigation is that Clements was killed in retaliation for denying al-Turki's transfer request.

In a lawsuit filed in April, Al-Turki said that he was been denied phone contact, kept in solitary confinement and only allowed to meet with his lawyers in handcuffs and shackles. In September, he was transferred to a federal prison with little explanation. One of his attorneys said state officials wanted him to serve out his sentence in federal prison because of unspecified security concerns.

Al-Turki appeared in court Thursday but didn't speak. He appeared in a red prison uniform with short silver hair and a long dark beard streaked with gray.

His brother, Saudi physician Ahmad al-Turki, made an emotional appeal seeking his brother's return.

"The whole family is really hurt by this," Ahmad al-Turki said.