First Published: 2013-01-15

 

Saudi court sentences Egyptian lawyer to five years in prison

 

Court sentences Egyptian rights lawyer whose arrest in April sparked diplomatic row with Cairo to five years in prison, 300 lashes.

 

Middle East Online

At centre of Riyadh-Cairo row

JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) - A Saudi court on Tuesday sentenced an Egyptian rights lawyer whose arrest on drug trafficking charges in April sparked a diplomatic row with Cairo to five years in prison and 300 lashes.

Ahmed al-Gizawi, arrested in April, was accused of trying to smuggle 21,380 capsules of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, which is banned in Saudi Arabia where drug trafficking carries the death sentence.

Another Egyptian, arrested over the same case, was sentenced to four years in prison and 400 lashes, while their Saudi partner was jailed for two years and will receive 100 lashes.

"These verdicts are lenient" given the defendants' "good morals ... and the lack of judicial precedents," the judge said at the hearing. The verdicts can be appealed within one month.

The prosecution, which alleged that Gizawi had hidden the banned substance in two milk cartons and a cover for the Koran, had demanded the death penalty for the lawyer.

Gizawi had travelled in April to Saudi Arabia with his wife to perform the omra, the minor pilgrimage to Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, when he was detained at Jeddah airport, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said at the time.

The Egyptian organisation said that Gizawi was held after he was sentenced in absentia to one year in prison and 20 lashes for criticising the Saudi government.

Gizawi was being targeted for his activism over Egyptian detainees in Saudi prisons, it said.

Hundreds of Egyptian protesters had rallied outside Riyadh's embassy in Cairo demanding his release, prompting the kingdom to shut down its mission.

The embassy reopened on May 4 following a fence-mending visit to King Abdullah by a large delegation of prominent Egyptian figures.

 

Gunmen kidnap 17 Turks in Iraq capital

US carries out secret drone campaign in Syria

Turkey police raid anti-Erdogan media group after British reporters jailed

Shebab attack Somalia AU base

Syria war takes its toll on heritage riches

Car bomb kills 10 in Syria regime bastion Latakia

Turkey transfers British reporters to new jail

Two Yemeni Red Cross staff killed

Qatar to begin enforcing key labour reform law from November

Turkey government says it 'had no role' in reporters' arrest

IS claims Tripoli car bomb near oil firm

Dispute with Israel government keeps Christian schools shut

Kuwait charges 24 'linked to Iran' with plotting attacks

New Turkey caretaker government holds first meeting

Dozens of Lebanon protesters occupy environment ministry

Will Erdogan's political gamble solve Turkey poll impasse?

UN confirms Palmyra temple destroyed

Over 10,000 Icelanders ready to welcome Syrians

Libya loyalist forces battle IS jihadists in Benghazi

South Sudan peace deal in jeopardy

Pressure builds on Europe as refugee crisis exposes splits

Israel confirms jail for Druze ex-MP over visit to Syria

Egypt much delayed elections to start on October 17

Palmyra temple appears ‘largely intact’ after ISIS blast

Turkey to offer cash rewards for tips on ‘terrorists’

Yemen children's hospital on the verge of shutting down

In gruesome video, ISIS shows burning alive of Iraq Shiite fighters

Four years after famine, situation in Somalia remains alarming

A year on, recapture of Yazidi hub remains a distant prospect

IS jihadists move closer than ever to central Damascus

EU leaders call for action to defend migrants’ 'dignity'

IS blows up parts of famed Palmyra temple

Deadly fire at housing complex of Aramco in Saudi Arabia

In historic first, Saudi Arabia allows women to run in local elections

Israel repels protesters with tear gas at separation barrier in West Bank

ISIS brutality in Syria: Over 90 people executed in one month

Bashir to visit China despite international arrest warrant

Egypt summons British envoy in row over Al-Jazeera trial

Yemen war seeks to stop ‘Iran expansion’ in Arab region

Lebanon protesters to government: Meet our demands of face escalation

Calls for action on refugee crisis mount after Austrian tragedy

Kuwait lawmaker describes Iran as 'true enemy' of Gulf Arabs

Two French journalists charged with bid to blackmail Morocco King

Algeria detains former intelligence chief

Kurdish forces free seven Iraq villages from clasps of ISIS