Egyptian rights lawyer sentenced to jail, lashes in Saudi Arabia


A gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Joe Raedle

An Egyptian human rights lawyer has been sentenced to five years in jail and 300 lashes by a court in Saudi Arabia.

According to BBC News, Ahmed al-Gizawi was convicted of drug trafficking by a Jeddah court. Gizawi is said to have been arrested in April while carrying more than 20,000 anti-anxiety drugs, which are banned in Saudi Arabia.

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But rights groups have claimed that he was really detained for his work with his work with Egyptian detainees in the country and criticizing the kingdom's monarch, reported the Associated Press. They claimed his confession to the smuggling charges was obtained under duress.

Two of Gizawi's colleagues also received similar punishments, according to Bloomberg. Islam Bakr, an Egyptian, was sentenced to six years in prison and 400 lashes, while a Saudi was sentenced to two years and 100 lashes.

BBC noted that Egyptians had protested Gizawi's arrest, leading the Saudis to recall their ambassador. The fallout between the two countries is considered the worst since Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979, leading Saudi Arabia to sever its ties with the country. The two nations restored their relations in 1987.