We’re beginning to learn some details about why there has been renewed interest in a Saudi national serving an 8 years-to-life prison sentence in Colorado for enslaving and sexually assaulting an Indonesian minor. Some of those details appear to involve Homaidan al-Turki’s large bank account, coupled with large purchases at the prison canteen that couldn’t have possibly been solely for himself.
Al-Turki was briefly a person of interest after the murder of Colorado’s prison chief Tom Clements on March 19th. One week earlier, al-Turki’s request to be transferred to Saudi Arabia had been denied by Clements.
That interest seemed to fade when Evan Ebel was killed in a shoot-out with police on March 21st. Ebel, a member of a white prison gang named 211 Crew, was the most likely suspect in Clements’ murder; the weapon used in that murder was found in Ebel’s car.
Now, a little more than a month later, interest in al-Turki is rising again, not just because of his rather large bank account but because he has apparently been spending quite a bit of money on others.
Via the Denver Post:
A Saudi inmate under scrutiny in the investigation into the murder of prisons chief Tom Clements has been on a spending spree at the prison canteen in the first four months of this year, according to Department of Corrections documents released Friday.
On three different occasions, Homaidan al-Turki ordered large quantities of baked pizza, enough to feed several men on a cell block, the documents show. He ordered seven large pizzas on Feb. 5, seven more on Feb. 27 and eight pizzas on March 19. Al-Turki also frequently bought shampoo, ice cream and other snack food in large quantities.
Since January, he has spent thousands of dollars at the Limon Correctional Facility canteen. Inmates typically earn about $20 a month while in prison, but their families and friends can deposit money in their prison accounts. As of this week, al-Turki had $6,964 in his account, according to records released to The Post.
Bartering is against prison rules, but prisoners often secretly swap sundries purchased at the prison canteen in exchange for a variety of favors. Al-Turki himself has been disciplined for bartering, although it’s not known what he might have received in any such exchange.
Al-Turki’s attorney maintains that his client has no money and that his family sends him money for canteen food and “expensive phone calls to Saudi Arabia.”
Haddon (attorney) said al-Turki was a linguistics doctoral student at the University of Colorado and has no money. Haddon said his family sends him money to buy canteen food and money for expensive phone calls to Saudi Arabia. He added that the government of Saudi Arabia has also contributed to his support.
When it comes to that part about the Saudi government, some extremely powerful Saudis are featured in this video calling for al-Turki’s release:
As for expensive phone calls to Saudi Arabia, perhaps one of them was this television interview that appeared on a Rotana program (Rotana is owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal). Note at about the 5:15 mark when an automated voice can be heard on the phone saying,
“This call is from a Colorado correctional facility.”
This must mean that al-Turki placed the call, right? So, who paid money so he could appear on a television show that airs on a network owned by one of the richest of Saudi princes?
The Denver Post’s Kirk Mitchell is doing some excellent work on this case. Perhaps if we had some intellectually curious journalists at the national level, we could get a quote from Al Waleed bin Talal in response to a couple of questions:
1.) How do you feel about one of the programs on your network promoting the release of a convicted sex offender?
2.) Do you, yourself, support the release of a convicted sex offender?
Perhaps Brian Williams is willing to step up to the plate (hint: the story is behind the door):