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The Saudi government arrests Egyptian activist

Ahmed Elbassiouny

April 25, 2012

Ahmed El Gizawy, an Egyptian lawyer and activist has been detained in Saudi Arabia and is now subject to 20 lashes on Friday.

El Gizawy has filed few lawsuits against the ruler of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and the Saudi royal family in Cairo South Court for the unfair detaining of Egyptians in Saudi prisons without any legal court ruling.

On April 17, El Gizawy entered Saudi Arabia for Umrah, Islamic practice of visiting the Holy mosque of Mecca, without knowing what was awaiting him. The Saudi authorities arrested him at the airport for “defaming” the royal Saudi family and the king. El Gizawy was then sentenced to one year imprisonment and 20 lashes during a secret trial that he was not aware of.

Surprisingly, the Saudi Ambassador to Cairo reported on April 24 that El Gizawy was not put in jail for “defaming” the king, but for the possession of 21,380 pills of Zanax on the time of arrival.

The prosecution of El Gizawy has fired up protests in front of the Saudi embassy in Cairo on April 24 and 25. Protestors were demanding the immediate and unconditional release of El Gizawy and many other Egyptian prisoners in Saudi prisons.

At the same time El Gizawy’s wife stated that he was arrested before picking up his luggage and that having that amount of medication is practically impossible. This is not the first time in which the Saudi government representatives twist the truth in the media to cover up human rights violations committed in Saudi Arabia against visitors, residents and Saudi nationals. Similarly, the Saudi government narrated a fabricated version of the story in Al Bajadi’s case earlier this month to legitimize his detention.

Egyptian political figures are trying to negotiate the release of El Gizawy. However, the United States of America and the Western governments remain silent towards human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. It is time for us to protest against human rights violations committed by the imperialists’ ally, Saudi Arabia.

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