Key witness missing in slavery case against Saudi couple |

Key witness missing in slavery case against Saudi couple

DENVER ” A federal judge on Tuesday delayed the trial of a Saudi Arabian couple accused of keeping an Indonesian woman as a virtual slave after prosecutors said a key witness has not returned from Saudi Arabia.

State and federal prosecutors allege Homaidan Al-Turki repeatedly sexually abused the Indonesian woman. They say Al-Turki and his wife, Sarah Khonaizan, required the woman to cook, clean and provide child care in their suburban Aurora home for little or no pay from 2000 to 2004.

Prosecutors also said she was sometimes loaned out to work for other families when her host family traveled.

Al-Turki and Khonaizan’s trial on federal charges of forced labor, involuntary servitude and harboring an illegal immigrant was to start April 24. U.S. District Judge Walker Miller granted a delay because of the witness’ failure to return to the United States from his home in Saudi Arabia.

No new trial date was set but it was expected to be in early July.

Miller rejected Khonaizan’s request to separate her case from her husband’s. Her attorney said she might not get a fair trial if she’s tried with her husband, but Miller said a jury would be able to distinguish between them.

Al-Turki and Khonaizan face state charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and extortion, and Al-Turki faces additional state charges of sexual assault.

Their state trial is scheduled for June 12.

The Labor Department has said the couple owe the woman about $62,500 in unpaid wages.

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