Saudi court sentences Egyptian lawyer to 5 years in jail, 300 lashes

Ahram Online, Tuesday 15 Jan 2013

Activists say El-Gizawy was detained on trumped up drug charges after criticising the Kingdom for its human rights violations

Egyptian Lawyer, Ahmed El-Gizawi detained at Saudi Arabia (Photo: Ahram)

A Saudi court has sentenced Ahmed El-Gizawy, an Egyptian lawyer, to five years in jail and 300 lashes, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic website.

El-Gizawy was detained by Saudi authorities in April 2012 as he entered the kingdom to perform Umrah, a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, 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.

His arrest sparked outrage in Egypt when hundreds of protesters took to the Saudi embassy in Cairo, prompting its brief closure and a decision by Saudi authorities to temporarily recall its ambassador that April.

The incident was said to have strained relations between the long-time allies according to a number of political experts.

The first session of Gizawy's trial was held on July 18, 2012.

Islam Bakr, an Egyptian who worked as an accountant in Saudi Arabia, was also accused in the same trial.

Bakr was sentenced to six years in jail and received 400 lashes.

Adel El Alfy, Egypt's ambassador to Jeddah, said that Egypt would appeal against the sentence in the hopes that it would get reduced.

In Saudi Arabia, the punishment handed down to those found guilty for possessing narcotics could mean up to 15 years imprisonment.

Lashings, however, do not happen all at once but rather 50 at a time.

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