Saudi Arabia says detained Egyptian rights lawyer was carrying drugs
Egypt said Tuesday that it was closely following the case of an Egyptian rights lawyer arrested in Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom said he was detained for carrying drugs, dpa reported.
Activists said Ahmed al-Gizawi had been sentenced in absentia by a Saudi court to a year in prison and 20 lashes by a for insulting King Abdullah, after al-Gizawi filed a lawsuit in Egypt against the monarch over the alleged detention of hundreds of Egyptians living there.
However the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Cairo, Ahmed Abdul-Aziz Qattan, denied this. He said in a statement Tuesday that al-Gizawi was arrested on April 17 for carrying large amounts of banned drugs.
Dozens of activists protested outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo, demanding the release of al-Gezawi. They were chanting slogans against King Abdullah and the royal family.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry said it was in contact with Saudi authorities over the arrest and called on Egyptian citizens "to think about how they voice their views and whether they would serve the interests of the detained citizen or make things worse."
The case has revived anger at the kingdom, which holds Islam's holiest sites, for previous alleged cases of ill-treatment of Egyptians.
In September hundreds of Egyptians, returning from the minor pilgrimage known as Umrah, claimed they had faced "deliberate humiliation." Others said they had been beaten by Saudi security officers for putting ousted president Hosny Mubarak on trial.
Saudi and Egyptian officials denied the allegations, attributing the disagreements to excess baggage.