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Outrage as Egyptian lawyer sentenced to 20 lashes in Saudi Arabia

Egyptian activists are planning several protests outside Saudi Arabia embassy against the sentencing of Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawy

Ekram Ibrahim, Monday 23 Apr 2012
Ahmed El-Gizawy
Egyptian Lawyer, Ahmed El-Gizawi detained at Saudi Arabia.
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Activists slam Saudi flagellation penalty on Egyptian lawyer, as government kept silent so far on the issue.

"This is defaming to Egypt and all Egyptians," Malek Adli, lawyer and rights activist told Ahram Online. "It also conflicts with the Egyptian law which is different from the Saudi one."

Egyptian public opinion is outraged after Saudi Arabia authorities sentenced Egyptian lawyer to one year imprisonment and 20 lashings. The lawyer was sentenced in absentia for "defaming the king," the ruler of Saudi Arabia during his visit to the country to undertake the Islamic ritual "omra."

El-Gizawy is to receive the 20 lashings on Friday.

El-Gizawy was traveling with his family to Saudi Arabia where he was detained on Tuesday. The authorities have detained El-Geziwi and allowed the rest of his family to enter the country.

El-Gizawy got in trouble with the law in the oil-rich kingdom after filing a law case in South Cairo Court against King Abdullah on behalf of Egyptians detained in Saudi Arabia prisons without any court rulings.

"There is a huge difference between our culture and our law and theirs, out of which these conflicts stem," Adli told Ahram Online.

The key problem is that Saudi authorities are applying Saudi laws to an Egyptian citizen who is under different rules.

A second major problem is that El-Gizawy was visiting Saudi Arabia under a religious trip and according to the Islamic Sharia, he should be granted peace during this religious visit. "Saudi Arabia should not use its authorisation of the Kaaba in political issues," Emad Arab, Islamist political activist told Ahram Online.

Three protests are planned before the Saudi Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday. The three planned events are at 12pm, 3pm and at 6pm. In parallel, a protest is planned before the Saudi Consulate in Alexandria at 12pm.

The political group Free Front for Peaceful Change has criticised the detention of the Egyptian lawyer promising to escalate the case by presenting a draft law to the Islam Cooperation Association. The law would be called  "the protection of the Muslims visiting El-Kaaba."

The group said in a statement that "this is abuse to Egypt's sovereignty inside and outside the country."

Saudi Arabia has taken a negative stance towards Egyptians since the revolution. Some activists think this may be a factor in the detention detention of the Egyptian lawyer.

Rights activists have long fought for the rights of the Egyptians working and living in Saudi Arabia. "The law implemented in Saudi Arabia does not respect human rights, Egyptians there are living in an awful situation," Adli told Ahram Online.

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