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.

 

Bloodshed in Gaza surges amid no truce

Major western powers call for Libya ceasefire

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Syria rebels advance towards Hama military airport

Emirates airline to avoid flying over Iraq

Italian fire-fighting planes to come to Libya rescue

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali