28 Egyptians detained for national security investigations: Saudi ambassador

Ahram Online, Thursday 14 Feb 2013

Saudi Ambassador Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz Kattan announces 28 Egyptian detainees are being investigated for terrorism and national security cases, all punishable by Saudi law

Saudi Ambassador
The families of Egyptian detainees in Saudi Arabia protest at the Saudi embassy last September 2011 (Photo:Mai Shaheen)

Only 28 Saudi-held Egyptian nationals, without sentence or conviction, are currently detained for investigations on charges concerning violations, said the Saudi Ambassador in an embassy statement on Thursday.

Saudi Ambassador Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz Kattan explained that the Egyptian detainees are being investigated for terrorism and national security cases, which are all punishable by Saudi law.

"1,000 Egyptian prisoners were sentenced to jail and 82 Egyptians received royal clemency in Ramadan," Kattan added.

The Saudi ambassador highlighted that the law enforcement in Saudi Arabia "prevails on natives and foreigners of all nationalities without any exception."

Kattan asserted that the number of Egyptian detainees in the oil rich kingdom "is decreasing."

The ambassador explained that a number of detainees and their families are currently on their way back to Egypt, after settling their financial problems.

There are detainees whose cases are still being considered by the Saudi judiciary and others who are being investigated in preparation for issuing a lawsuit against them, Kattan added.

"Due to the dangerous criminal charges against those detainees, Saudi authorities will consider handing them over to Egypt, once the detainees receive final verdicts and settle their rights and duties to complete the term of punishment in Egyptian prisons," he added.

The Saudi ambassador pointed out that there is another group of detainees waiting for the issuing of lawsuits against them in preparation for trial and others who received preliminary verdicts and are waiting for the appeal court verdicts.

"The number of violators is almost negligible compared to the 2 million Egyptian citizens working in Saudi Arabia," Kattan said. "The Egyptian community is one of the most law-abiding communities in Saudi Arabia."

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

On January 13, a Saudi court sentenced Ahmed El-Gizawy, an Egyptian lawyer, to five years in jail and 300 lashes. 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.

In October 2012, Egyptian nationals detained in Saudi went on hunger strike to demand their release, according to the Association of Families of Egyptian Detainees in Saudi Arabia.

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