Pleas to pardon Egyptian lawyer in Saudi prison renewed

Ahram Online, Saturday 21 Dec 2013

Ahmed El-Gizawi was arrested in 2012 on charges of smuggling prescription drugs into Saudi Arabia

Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi (Photo: Al-Ahram)

A number of Egyptian political groups have made renewed calls on the authorities to push for the release of Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawi, who has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since 2012.

Human rights lawyer El-Gizawi was sentenced to five years in prison and 300 lashes after being convicted of smuggling prescription drugs into Saudi Arabia while performing pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in April 2012.

His arrest and the sentence caused controversy in Egypt at the time. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Saudi embassy in Cairo, prompting its brief closure and a decision by Saudi authorities to temporarily recall its ambassador.

On Saturday, El-Gizawi's family called on the interim authorities to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to grant him a pardon.

During a press conference at the headquarters of the Way of the Revolution Front – a group which includes members of the April 6 Youth Movement, the Strong Egypt Party, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Justice and Freedom Youth – El-Gizawi's sister Sherine called on armed forces chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and interim president Adly Mansour to interfere.

She stressed that her imprisoned brother's health had deteriorated.

A Saudi court gave a final verdict against El-Gizawi on Tuesday.

"Previously, authorities did nothing on the basis that they cannot interfere in a judicial matter. But now the verdict is final, so they must take action to protect Egyptian citizens abroad," said Sherine El-Gizawi.

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