Saudi court convicts Egyptian rights lawyer

A Saudi Arabian court on Jan. 15 convicted prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed el-Gezawi of smuggling drugs. Despite requests from Saudi prosecutors for the death penalty, el-Gezawi was given a sentence of five years imprisonment and 300 lashes. El-Gezawi’s arrest in April 2012 sparked protests outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo by those who believe the activist was arrested for insulting King Abdullah, leading Saudi Arabia to close its embassy in Egypt for a week. Saudi authorities maintain that he was arrested for attempting to smuggle 20,000 anti-anxiety pills into the country. El-Gezawi had previously filed lawsuits on behalf of 34 Egyptians who were detained in Saudi Arabia without a stated reason. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced the decision as a political sentence that violates principles of freedom of expression.

From Jurist, Jan. 15. Used with permission.