Saudi Arabia: Call for Obama to Free Humeidan Al-Turki

The Saudi nation has just released a campaign addressed to US President Barack Obama, asking him to release the Saudi prisoner Humeidan Al-Turki. Al Turki, a PhD student in Colorado, was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison for abusing his maid.

The campaign calling for his release started when famous youth advocate Najeeb Alzamil wrote in an article published a year ago: “Facebook users.. A message to Obama: Release Humaidan.” (Ar) The Facebook campaign attracted more than 18,000 fans. A short clip written directed by Almuhannad Alkadam has been viewed by more than 200,000 in just two days. The short clip features well known Saudi figures, religious and secular ones. It also features Alturki’s daughter, Ruba, speaking about growing up without a father. The message has gone viral within the society and the clip has been posted by Saudis in all types of social networking pages: Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. From the campaign’s Facebook wall Noonh Mohmmed writes:

ولله ان تدمع عيني كل ماشفت عياله .. الله يفك اسرك
Every time I see his children my eyes fill with tears. I hope they free him soon.

Aseer Almahba praised the campaign and hoped it reaches the American president:

الله يفوق كل من قام بهذه الحمله

وان شاء الله الحمله تحقق المرغوب به
May Allah reward who organised this campaign, and we hope that it achieves its goal.

Moreover, the clip and news of the campaign made it to the local newspapers, as well as internationally, such as CNN's iReport.

On Facebook, the fans are trying to reach as many Americans as possible by contacting the US’ pages and encouraging them to spread the word.

According to Swaier Nwaier, Okhlahoma did send its fans a link to the clip:

ولاية أوكلاهوما” ارسلوا للمعجبين بالرسائل لهم الله يوفقكم عن الحملة
The state of Okhlohoma already sent to their page fans.

However, not all Saudis were satisfied with the clip and those featured in it. From the campaign's page on Facebook, Abdularahna Aljaser shares his opinion on the appearance of a Shia figure, Alsaffar:

للأسـف أصبح / الصفّار ممن يثق بـه !!
Unfortunately, Alsaffar is now considered one of those who could be trusted!!

And from Twitter, SaudiLawyer had something to say about the short clip:

لدي العديد والعديد من الملاحظات على فلم “أوباما أطلق حميدان” لكن الفلم أطلق وانتهى الموضوع ولا نملك سوى التعاطف مع حميدان وأسرته الآن
I have lots and lots of comments on the video. However the clip has been released now and all we can do is sympathize with Humedain and his family.


  • Liz

    When will the wanton abuse of vulnerable, non-Saudi, often Muslim women be considered a crime in the land of the Haramain? When will Saudis recognize Indonesians, Filipinos, Sri Lankans, ect. as human beings and treat them as such?

  • Why should he be released…if he really abused his maid? What in fact did he do to his maid?

  • I have to agree,,,there seems to be no position of questioning whether or not the crimes Humeidan was charged and convicted of happened…no attempt to present evidence that he is in fact innocent, rather an attempt to try to say “Others have done worse, can’t you release him?” Also, a fundamental flaw with the campaign is that this was a Colorado State crime and conviction and as such Obama has no jurisdiction to commute Humeidan’s sentence or pardon him. The US President can only do this for people convicted of Federal crimes. Only the Governor of Colorado can pardon or cummute Humeidan’s sentence. I’m sure his family misses him and the clip certainly contains powerful emotional imagery…but the fact still remains it seems he did commit these crimes (aggravated sexual assault, forced labor, paying only $2/day among others) so I have to wonder what the basis for requesting his release is?

  • Yenz

    This is what I found from

    “WASHINGTON, 1 September 2006 – A Saudi man convicted of sexually assaulting an Indonesian housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave was sentenced yesterday to 27 years to life in prison in Colorado.

    Al-Turki, who was studying for a doctoral degree at the University of Colorado, was convicted June 30 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and extortion. All are felonies.

    He was also convicted on misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.

    Prosecutors and FBI agents said Al-Turki and his wife, Sarah Khonaizan, brought the woman to Colorado to care for their five children and to cook and clean for the family. An affidavit said she spent four years with the family in their suburban Colorado home, sleeping on a mattress on the basement floor and getting paid less than $2 a day.”

    To me, that seems like a fair sentence, but why was his wife not convicted too?

  • irene

    non vedo il motivo della sua liberazione,è per caso differrente da altri cittadini americani .La legge è uguale per tutti o cosi dovrebbe essere è ora che i Sauditi si rendano conto che le donne sono degli esseri umani e vanno rispettati in ogni Nazione.Deve rimanere in prigione è giusto

  • I find this quite ironic, A country whose draconian laws on the treatment of women make one shiver when one reads about the trials that go on, is now appealing to the USA to have a person who abused a women released.

    This is not the first time that Al Turki has come under the scruntiny of the US Authorities, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia “Humeidan al-Turki was arrested for the first time in 2004 by the American authorities after being accused of violating immigration regulations, and he was later released on bail. In June 2006, he was arrested again after being accused of mistreating his maid. On June 30, 2006 he was convicted of committing crimes against his Indonesian maid.On Aug 31, 2006 he was convicted by an American court for a period ranging between 27 years and a life sentence”

    I could not find any relevant information on the crimes that he commited against his maid, but one may assume that they would have had to be pretty awful to get 27 years prison.

    Saudi Arabia should be looking at their own legal and justice systems to be supporting Women who are constantly abused and sexually harrassed instead of supporting those who do harms to these women.

  • I’m shocked that anyone would campaign for his release (though I can understand porting his sentence to Saudi so he can be near his kids; although I do doubt the government would take it seriously). He was tried fairly in a court of law and it was determined he had abused a human being. Why would you support someone like that?

  • I don’t know why the releasing such a criminal will be “the start to heal the relationship between Americans and Muslim”.

  • Yazeed

    Hi everyone [this is Yazeed from Saudi Arabia]

    I don’t understand why Saudis are asking for this man to be released other than the fact that he is their fellow countryman.

    Honestly, if he went to the USA and committed crimes then sadly he must face the consequences. Now, if he has wrongly been accused of these crimes then that is altogether a different matter.

    Seriously, if an American (or anyone else for that matter) committed these same crimes in Saudi then most likely everyone would want justice to be done and we are all well aware of the punishments meted out here.

    We may not like the laws of particular lands but if you visit them then you had better well abide by them otherwise you lose. I’m tired of hearing people cry foul when they get caught breaking laws in foreign lands!

    Now, as a Muslim, I feel for Homaidan but if he truly is guilty then I don’t care if the King himself made a plea on that video then he must accept responsibility for his actions and serve his time.

    I agree that the act of making this video is a good example of how Saudis can better utilize social media for various causes. But this in my opinion is not a good cause. What sort of message is this sending out about Saudis? About Muslims? What does this teach to our children?

    This has serious implications that should be addressed before more people jump on the bandwagon of supporting a possible criminal.

    I don’t want to sound insensitive here. I don’t know the details of his case but 28 yrs does sound excessive. I wouldn’t disagree so much if they were rallying to have his term shortened as opposed to a full out pardon from Obama.

    I would respect Homaidan a lot more if he would serve his term (hopefully less than 28yrs) quietly and in a dignified manner.

    Kindly please, Give us a special emphasis on detained blogger Tal
    No news Good news
    or what happened for this 19 years old Syrian Bloggers?
    Best wishes
    Free Tal Campaign

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