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Egyptians detained in Saudi Arabia maintain hunger strike

Twenty-eight Egyptian nationals languishing in Saudi jails maintain hunger strike for third day in row

Zeinab El Gundy, Wednesday 17 Oct 2012
 Egyptian detainees in Saudi Arabia protest
The families of Egyptian detainees in Saudi Arabia protest at the Saudi embassy last September 2011 (Photo:Mai Shaheen)
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Egyptian nationals detained in Saudi Arabia have continued their hunger strike for the third consecutive day to demand their release, the Association of Families of Egyptian Detainees in Saudi Arabia said in a Wednesday statement.

The association went on to demand that President Mohamed Morsi move quickly to secure the detainees' release from the oil-rich kingdom. The association also stated that it had organised dozens of protests outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo's Giza district but had received no response from Saudi authorities.

"For the third day in row, 28 Egyptian detainees have continued their hunger strike in several Saudi prisons, including Abaha Prison and Damam Prison," association coordinator Shereen Farid told Ahram Online. She added that all of the hunger strikers had been detained by Saudi authorities without charge.

"They are considered political detainees," Farid said.

"We're calling on Egyptian officials, especially President Morsi, to take speedy action on securing their release, as the president promised before," Farid asserted. "If they're true criminals, we call on the Saudi authorities to give them fair public trials according to Saudi law."

Meanwhile, human rights groups have denounced Saudi authorities for continuing to flog Egyptian detainee Naglaa Wafaa, who was sentenced to five years in prison and 500 lashes as a result of a financial feud between her and a Saudi princess. According to her family, Wafaa – who has already received 400 lashes – was denied a lawyer to represent her at her trial.

The plight of Egyptian nationals languishing in Saudi prisons became the focus of considerable media interest following the arrest this summer in Jeddah of Egyptian rights lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi, who faces drug smuggling charges. If El-Gizawi is found guilty, he could face the death penalty, according to Saudi law.

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