Foreign ministry official meets Gizawy’s wife to discuss case

Ahmed Ragheb, the Egyptian foreign minister’s deputy for consular affairs, met on Wednesday with the wife of Ahmed al-Gizawy, an Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist who is currently being held by the Saudi authorities on charges of smuggling narcotics.

Gizawy’s family has requested authorization from the Egyptian consulate in Jeddah to hire a Saudi lawyer to defend him, Ragheb said in a press conference held after the meeting. Two Saudi attorneys have already expressed willingness to defend Gizawy, he added.

Ragheb stated that the indictment against Gizawy and Islam Mahmoud Bakr, the other Egyptian defendant in the case, “has not been issued yet, and Gizawy’s wife will be informed immediately after its completion.”

The legal advisor to the Consulate of Egypt in Jeddah, Yasser Elwani, visited Gizawy and Bakr on Tuesday, and stated that both defendants have been treated well in prison, said Ragheb.

When asked why the Foreign Affairs Ministry focused attention on Gizawy's case while ignoring other Egyptian detainees in Saudi Arabia, Ragheb denied that claim and stated that the ministry is still following up on the other cases.

“Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr met a few days ago in Riyadh with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, to ask him to investigate these cases, and handed him a list of Egyptian detainees in Saudi prisons,” Ragheb said. “Prince Saud al-Faisal promised to examine it.”

Gizawy’s arrest on 17 April sparked protests at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo that led to the temporary withdrawal of Ahmed al-Qattan, the Saudi ambassador to Egypt. Prior to his arrest, Gizawy had filed a lawsuit against the Saudi authorities over their treatment of Egyptians.

The ambassador returned to his post in Cairo after an Egyptian parliamentary delegation visited the kingdom.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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