Egyptian diplomats to monitor El-Gizawi questioning in Saudi

Ahram Online , Tuesday 8 May 2012

Lawyer at centre of diplomatic row between Egypt and Saudi Arabia to undergo further questioning on drug charges; consular official to attend Tuesday's session

Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi
Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi

Officials at the Egyptian consulate in Saudi Arabia will attend the questioning of detained Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi at the Saudi Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution on Tuesday, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Amr Roshdy said.

El-Gizawi will be accompanied by the consul, the consulate's lawyer, and Saudi lawyer Ahmed Khalaf El-Rashed, Roshdy added.      

On Monday, the consulate's lawyer, Yasser El-Wany, was present with El-Gizawi at the Drug Enforcement Bureau in Jeddah as he underwent questioning.

El-Gizawy was able to call his family on Monday to update them on his situation.

The Egyptian national was detained on 23 April during his Omrah pilgrimage and accused by Saudi authorities of possession of illegal substances as he attempted to enter the kingdom.

A week after his arrest, the Saudi government officially accused him of smuggling 21,000 anti-depressant pills into the kingdom. 

El-Gizawi had earlier filled a lawsuit calling for the release of Egyptians being held without charge in Saudi prisons, which many activists believe was the main reason for his arrest and detention by the Saudis.

The case has caused a spat between the two countries, resulting in the closure of the Saudi embassy and consulate in Cairo for several days following protests staged outside the embassy. The Saudi ambassador in Cairo was recalled on 28 April, but he returned to Egypt over the weekend and the embassy resumed its activities on Sunday.  

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