Saudi denies reports of Egyptian lawyer's stiff sentence
Kingdom officials dismiss reports that Egyptian lawyer was slapped with 1-year jail term, 20 lashes for 'defaming' king
Ahram Online, Tuesday 24 Apr 2012
Saudi Arabian officials on Tuesday denied reports that detained Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi had been sentenced in absentia to 20 lashes and one year in prison for "defaming" the Saudi monarch during a recent visit to the oil-rich gulf state to perform the Islamic umrah pilgrimage.
According to Saudi Arabian ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Qattan, El-Gizawi was arrested by Saudi authorities on Tuesday after being found in possession of more than 21,000 pills of anti-depressant drug Xanax, trade in which is proscribed in the kingdom.
In a statement, Qattan asserted that Saudi authorities had immediately informed the Egyptian embassy in Riyadh of the arrest.
Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of Egyptian protesters staged angry demonstrations outside Saudi Arabia's Cairo embassy to demand the detained lawyer's release, along with scores of other Egyptian nationals said to be languishing in Saudi prisons.