Human rights lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawy is to be flogged in a Saudi Arabian public square on 25 January, according to a statement posted by his sister Sherine El-Gizawy on her Facebook page Tuesday.
Celebrated in Egypt as the 25 January Revolution, the highly symbolic date marks the day that ignited the popular uprising which toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak three years ago following 30 years of his undemocratic rule.
"In honour of the Egyptian revolution, Saudi authorities have decided to flog Gizawy in a public square on 25 January," Sherine El-Gizawy wrote on her Facebook page.
In January 2013, a Saudi court sentenced Ahmed El-Gizawy to five years in jail and 300 lashes (to be handed in separate sessions of 50 at a time) over accusations of drug smuggling. The verdict was confirmed by an appeals court last week, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). The NGO said on Sunday it expected the penalty to be executed within a month.
As he entered the kingdom to perform the Muslim pilgrimage of Umrah in April 2012, Gizawy was detained by Saudi authorities for allegedly smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia. Egyptian activists say the charges were trumped up by the Saudis after his public criticisms of human rights violations in the Gulf kingdom.
ANHRI said Gizawi's arrest came after he filed a lawsuit before the Egyptian Administrative Court against Saudi authorities because of the mistreatment of Egyptian citizens working in Saudi Arabia.
"Egyptian authorities should react immediately to rescue an Egyptian citizen from such a harsh penalty that violates all international legislations and human rights principles," ANHRI said on Sunday.