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Detained and flogged in Saudi Arabia: Nagla Wafa's story
An Egyptian mother-of-two, lashed 300 times, is serving a 5 year prison sentence after quarreling with a Saudi princess, Ahram Online speaks to her father
Randa Ali, Tuesday 21 Aug 2012
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Wafa
Egyptian Business woman Naglaa Wafa with her children (Photo: Internet)

The predicament of incarcerated Egyptian businesswoman Nagla Wafa, who was jailed in Saudi Arabia three years ago, drew the country's attention when Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian took up her cause via his Twitter account on Sunday.

In September 2009, Wafa was arrested and incarcerated in a Saudi prison for a year and a half without proper investigation, legal representation or trial, her father Yehia Wafa told Ahram Online in a rare interview, Tuesday.

She later faced trial, during which she was forbidden from hiring a lawyer. After 13 sessions, she was sentenced to five years in prison and 500 lashes. So far, she has served 300 of these floggings.

According to her father, Wafa’s story started seven years ago when the mother-of-two travelled to Riyadh with her then husband to launch a flourishing career as a wedding planner and flower arrangement expert. Her clients included Saudi elites and members of the royal family. As her business boomed, one of them, a daughter of the king, asked to be her partner.

"Hesitant at first, Nagla later agreed as the princess bought out the shares of my daughter’s other business partner, another Saudi woman," Wafa's father told Ahram Online.

Yehia Wafa, who has only seen his daughter once in the last three years, added that the princess rarely contributed financially to the partnership until one day she gave Wafa a cheque for SR2 million, requesting that she open a restaurant.

Enthusiastic about the new project, Yehia Wafa explained, Wafa started working on setting up the establishment. However, her father added, the princess’s cortège were not pleased with the fledging partnership.

"Nagla chose to stay away from the people the princess associated with as she knew their work wasn't that honest, however they succeeded in turning the princess against my daughter and over night the princess stopped answering Nagla's phone calls," Yehia Wafa said.

Later, while in Cairo for her brother's wedding, Wafa was informed that her office in the Saudi capital was being raided and that documents and laptops had been confiscated.

"Naglaa went back to Riyadh not expecting trouble, only to be greeted by a travel ban," continues her father.

As the situation escalated, Naglaa was arrested but was unable to reach her family to explain her predicament for almost a month.

It is only recently, after three years in jail, that Nagla's family has been able to hire her a lawyer.

“The Egyptian embassy's legal advisor has tried more than once to organise power of attorney so that we could get her legal representation but it was almost impossible," explained Nagla's father.

The family initially avoided speaking to the media following threats from the princess’s lawyer that he would use a contact in Egypt’s state security (before it was dissolved following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak) against the family if his client’s name was exposed.

The princess's lawyer also promised to secure Wafa’s release if her family paid back the SR2 million cheque, which Wafa had spent on establishing the restaurant. This amount, her father told Ahram Online, they “simply couldn’t afford.”

This did not stop the family from trying. "Before Mubarak was toppled we reached out to him and sent him details of my daughter's situation but there was no reply. We contacted his son Alaa as well and again we received no response," he said.

"However things have changed. If we had still been in the time of Mubarak I wouldn’t have been able to contact the media," Yehia Wafa explained who, in spite of his exhaustion, was still hopeful. He has recently started reaching out to Egypt's new officials.

Saudi Arabia has been frequently criticised for its unjust treatment of Egyptians.

The number of Egyptian citizens detained in Saudi prisons remains unknown. However, the issue is slowly being covered in the Egyptian media following the arrest of young lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi who, according to his family, was imprisoned for filing a complaint against the Saudi royal family for "unlawfully" detaining Egyptians.

Saudi authorities charged El-Gizawi with drug smuggling, he was jailed pending trial in September.

Wafa's case is also starting to attract public attention.

The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) issued a statement Monday condemning her detention. According to the civil society group, Wafa is now suffering from problems in her spinal cord as result of being lashed.

"What this Egyptian citizen has been exposed to violates all international human rights charters," said EOHR head Hafez Abu-Seida.

Abu-Seida further added that the EOHR has sent a letter of complaint to the United Nations outlining Wafa's situation as well as promising to launch a campaign calling for her release.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and President Mohamed Morsi need to interfere immediately," Abu-Seida concluded.





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zach
15-01-2013 08:47pm
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Do not do business with saudi royals
Some play by the rule and are principled, but they can do as they please with no accountability.
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sibill
03-09-2012 12:40am
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their crimes will bounce back to them very very soon
what goes around , comes around , seems to be a universal principle, which this mafia over there has forgotten. very soon they will earn a hundered thousand time all the return of their crimes and very soon the oil will dry and this mafia will soon turn to beggers... it is happening and very soon....wait and see they are cursed by the universe
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18



steiner
28-08-2012 05:54am
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Let the Arab Spring flourish in Saudi Arabia
Is there any freedom of the press in Saudi Arabia? Perhaps that's a naive question. I just cannot believe that a totalitarian regime that relies on sucking oil out of the ground and calls itself 'royal' is allowed to exist in this day and age. Theologically, the oppression of women totally contravenes the Qur'an. Are the Saudi's just lazy 'Inshalla' style, or do they not desire freedom from this tyranny? Come on people, the French revolution was in 1789 - can it really take the average Saudi this long to expose those who fraudulently claim 'royal' status? How does the Qu'ran view their collection of exotic European cars and palaces? Perhaps the Saudi imams have forgotten this: "AND DEVOUR NOT one another's possessions wrongfully, and neither employ legal artifices with a view to devouring sinfully, and knowingly, anything that by right belongs to others."
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Dalou
31-08-2012 03:33pm
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Arabia was the name
British helped Wahabi Ibn el Saoud conquer Arabia from Hachemite rulers when oil was discoverd begining of WW1. They used Laurence of Arabia.
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elsaidy
25-08-2012 11:22pm
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mercy from ALLAH
The Egyptian government shall be involved soon to support the egyptian citizen abroad. Such penalty and threatening are not religious based on sense (religion is for the mercy and guidance not voilance or threat, further transparancy required)
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16



TAzeen Hasan
25-08-2012 09:19pm
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Saudi Courts are definately involved in human rights violations
I am a Pakistani female and I have spent 2 days with Nagla in Malaz Jail Riyadh during 30th and 31st August 2010. I am really concerned about this matter since I left the jail. During my stay with her, she told me her story. Until that time there was no court trial although about 1 year was passed since she was arrested. I have very fond memories of those two days. This clearly shows there’s something wrong. Saudi’s should gave her a chance to defend herself. She was an invester who was running a big concern. But Saudi System of justice seems hopeless sometimes. They don’t gave a chance of fair appeal if once qazi has given his verdict. Her case need special attention bcs her opponent is a Royal princess as she told me. I will apeal Egyptian ministry of foriegn affairs to intervene on highest level and fight for her right of free and just trial and appeal. Regards God bless her and free her from Saudi judgement tyranny
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15



TTT
25-08-2012 09:17pm
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A friend of Nagla Wafa from Malaz Jail, Riyadh
I am a Pakistani female and I have spent 2 days with Nagla in Malaz Jail Riyadh during 30th and 31st August 2010. I am really concerned about this matter since I left the jail. During my stay with her, she told me her story. Until that time there was no court trial although about 1 year was passed since she was arrested. I have very fond memories of those two days. This clearly shows there’s something wrong. Saudi’s should gave her a chance to defend herself. She was an invester who was running a big concern. But Saudi System of justice seems hopeless sometimes. They don’t gave a chance of fair appeal if once qazi has given his verdict. Her case need special attention bcs her opponent is a Royal princess as she told me. I will apeal Egyptian ministry of foriegn affairs to intervene on highest level and fight for her right of free and just trial and appeal. Regards God bless her and free her from Saudi judgement tyranny
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14



freddy george
25-08-2012 08:57pm
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plagiarism?
google translate version in le monde
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Ahramonline
27-08-2012 05:12am
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Le Monde
The article in Le Monde article was published 3 days after Ahram Online! We will contact them to see why they didn't mention Ahram Online as the source for their story?
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Muuh
25-08-2012 06:16pm
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unjust
Regardless that how these verdicts of flogging remind of medieval, why Those cunts don't enforce their bullshit only over us-Egyptians- .. Fear God !!
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12



skh,pcola
23-08-2012 05:11am
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Surprise?
Does this surprise anybody? There is no justice in Islamic countries. None. Islamic countries are ruled by religious extremists or brutal tyrants that place no value on human life. Saudi Arabia is ruled by power-mongering hypocrites that coddle their myriad spawn while abusing the poor people that actually do the work. Saudis are lazy and not very intelligent, but they can certainly function as the gatekeepers of the filthy cult of Islam.
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Alex
19-10-2012 06:47pm
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WOW
Seriously? how can you grossly generalize like that to all islamic countries? Can you please define Islamic countries? Islam exsists in
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nerhal hamdy
22-08-2012 07:10pm
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no justice in saudi arabia
to be arrested for almost two years and then a trial with no right for lawyer and a princess interference and influance the court unhuman people they are behaving like monesters not humabeing they would not dare to do the same with an american or european citizen they knew that our authority are a follower to them they do not have any dignity
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