Saudis launch video plea to Obama to pardon jailed compatriot

22:04, September 01, 2010      

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A group of Saudi youths have launched a short film appealing to U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon a compatriot who is serving 28-year imprisonment sentence in a U.S. prison on sexual assault charges, local newspaper Arab News reported Wednesday.

Humaidan al-Turki, 36, was pursuing a Ph.D. degree in the United State when he was first arrested along side with his wife in 2004 violating the immigration regulations. They were later released before U.S. police arrest him in 2005 for sexually assaulting his Indonesian maid.

A Colorado court convicted the Saudi student in 2006, sentencing him to 28 years in prison. The verdict angered Saudis who considered Turki a victim of the anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a petition from his lawyers, which meant that only the U.S. president could revoke the sentence.

The five-minute film, made in Arabic with English subtitles, featured several high-profile Saudi religious, media and sports figures, calling on Obama to use his constitutional power to set Turki free.

The video also featured Turki's 12-year-old daughter, who said she wants to be reunited with her father again.

"I do not know my father except from pictures, but I cannot imagine the rest of my life without him" Ruba al-Turki said.

Among those featured in the video was Saudi Shiite Scholar Hassan al-Saffar who said releasing al-Turki would have a positive impact on Saudi people. Shoura Council member Najeeb al-Zamil, for his part, recalled that the history of America is based on tolerance, love, justice and forgiveness.

The video also contained a presentation based on a report on the history of presidential pardons in the United States.

Source: Xinhua


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