Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian called for Saudi Arabian authorities to clarify the status of Egyptian businesswoman Naglaa Wafa, who is currently serving a five year prison sentence and 500 lashes in Riyadh, via his Twitter account on Sunday.
International media reported that Wafa was arrested following a conflict between her and a Saudi princess, who was also her business partner.
In a series of tweets El-Erian, who is the vice chairman of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, voiced discontent with Wafa’s detention and urged Saudi's ambassador in Egypt to explain the charges laid against her. He also called on the Egyptian ambassador to the Islamic kingdom to "do his job" and follow up the case.
The detained Egyptian, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for seven years, has repotedly suffered 300 lashes of her sentence since being detained in 2009.
In an interview with independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, Wafa's father accused people close to the princess of "setting up" his daughter, complaining that no Egyptian official has helped his family voice their daughter's issue.
Wafa's father further added that his family has been threatened, in case they reveal the identity of the Saudi princess.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights condemned on Monday the detention and punishment meted to Wafa in Saudi Arabia and called on president Mohamed Morsi to intervene in her case to secure her release in order to put an end to the physical hardship she reportedly faced in the past three years.
There is no confirmed number of Egyptian citizens detained in Saudi Arabia’s prisons. The growing issue was recently bought to light again following the detention of a young lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi.
El-Gizawi was accused of drug smuggling and is currently being held in Saudi Arabia pending trial in September. However, his family claims he was arrested after criticising the Saudi royal family, as he filed several complaints against the kingdom’s officials for unlawfully detaining Egyptians.