Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies are in contact with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) after responding to a domestic violence report in Woody Creek on Feb. 12.
On Thursday, eight days later, sheriff’s deputies arrested Khalid Basri, 45, for suspected misdemeanor third-degree assault as domestic violence. While not its own crime in Colorado, domestic violence serves as a sentence enhancer in the case of conviction.
The report came through a phone tip from the alleged victim’s Washington, D.C- based cousin, who reported to local authorities that the alleged victim “was in an abusive relationship and that she was in the hospital,” according to an incident report written by chief responding deputy Kyle Ryan.
The cousin reported that the alleged victim had collapsed, which the victim later reported was brought on by stress-induced lack of eating. She was also reported to have photo and video evidence of physical abuse on her phone.
“[Her cousin] told me that the police had been involved in a series of civil issues between [her] and her husband. [Her cousin] also told me that when the police had contacted her in the past, they had attempted to speak with her in French and Arabic, using interpreters,” Ryan’s report says.
While the alleged victim, 27, does speak some French, her native language is Moroccan, the report continues.
“[She] was excited when I told her that I had a Moroccan interpreter on the line [when meeting at Valley View Hospital],” the report says.
It continues, “I spoke with an agent from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, who agreed to assist with aspects of this investigation.”
The reason for HSI’s involvement has more to do with the alleged circumstances of the woman’s presence in Aspen than her hospitalization, however.
“[She] came to the United States with Basri and their son … on May 28, 2019. [She] told me that they arrived in New York on tourist visas but immediately upon arriving, Basri told her that they would be filing for refugee status and that she could not return home to Morocco, where her family is. [She] was upset by this,” the report says.
The cousin who initially reported the alleged abuse and hospitalization to authorities said that Basri had reason to seek refugee status. Basri is the son of Driss Basri, a former interior minister for Moroccan King Hassan II for 20 years before self exiling in Paris until his death in 2007.
“This is something he did because of his father,” he said of Basri. “That’s how he filed because he does not want to be in Morocco, and got kicked out from France as well. These type of people, they have a right to file for refugee [status].”
But, he continued, his cousin had no idea of her husband’s plans when they arrived in New York — an assertion she allegedly reiterated to Ryan, according to his report.
“He cannot do it to somebody else, even a wife. You have to take her permission before doing that,” her cousin said. “She loved her country; she loves her parents. I don’t judge people based on their family, but when she told me — she sent me the pictures and everything, that tells me a lot.”
The photos mentioned were the same ones the alleged victim also showed Ryan, which depict physical injuries she alleged she suffered at the hands of Basri in November — just one example in a long history of abuse, she said. The alleged victim further told police that Basri has prevented her from “participating in activities freely as she wishes, including preventing her from taking English classes.”
“[She] explained to me, and I learned from a report written by Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Ferguson, that on Feb. 3, 2020, Basri kicked [her] out of their home. Deputies responded to meet with [her] and told Basri that he could not stop [her] from coming into the home,” according to the incident report.
The alleged victim’s cousin remembers the occurrence.
“Her husband took her kid; he abused her; he threw her outside at 3 a.m.,” he said, adding that the only reason he didn’t book a flight to Aspen to see his cousin in person was because of financial constraints. “She doesn’t have anybody; she doesn’t speak English very well. She is in a difficult situation. What kind of man … he threw her out without a dollar in her pocket?”
That was from the house in Woody Creek, the report explains. When the couple first arrived in Pitkin County, they stayed in an Aspen apartment.
“I completed the domestic violence questionnaire with [the victim] and learned from her, among other things, that they moved to the house [in Woody Creek] because Basri did not like that neighbors could hear Basri yelling while they lived in an apartment in Aspen,” the report states. “Despite the move to the much more secluded home, Basri and [the victim’s] neighbors called police to report noises.”
Since Basri’s Thursday arrest, the alleged victim has not been staying in the Woody Creek home, the report notes. As of Friday, Basri was no longer listed as a current inmate at the Pitkin County Jail.
Basri is scheduled to appear in Pitkin County Court March 3.