15 January 2013

Egypt: EOHR Calls Upon Mursi to Handle the Case of Ahmed Al Gizawy

press release

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) is deeply concerned about sentencing of the Egyptian lawyer Ahmed Al-Gizawy imprisonment of 5 years and 300 lashes, which is a violation to the right to bodily integrity and the right to fair trial. EOHR also calls upon the Egyptian President and the Ministry of Interior for speed intervention for his release, fearing putting his life in danger.

On April 17, 2012, when the political activist and his wife arrived in Gedda International Airport, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for practicing Omra, the Saudi security forces arrested him. The human rights' activist used to call for the rights of the Egyptian detainees in the kingdom. He used to criticize the Saudi policy towards the Egyptians in the kingdom.

So, following his arrival at the kingdom, he was informed that a royal court charged him with insulting the king, when he filed a lawsuit against the king and the Saudi authorities in connection with forcible detention and torture of Egyptians without any legal reasons. Within the lawsuit, Ahmed Al Gizawy called for releasing the detainees and providing them with their civil rights and compensations for the human rights' violations they suffered in the Saudi prisons and detention centers. The Saudi court gave him one year sentence in addition to flogging.

EOHR stated that what happened is against all the international standards of human rights. The Saudi action was against the freedom of movement and expression too. Punishing people for criticizing royal policies cannot be accepted, according to the international covenants of human rights, signed by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

EOHR also calls upon president Morsi and the Egyptian government for immediate intervention to release Ahmed Al Gizawy and cancel the detention and flogging sentences. The Egyptian ministry of Foreign Affairs has to provide him with the required legal support in order to reopen his lawsuit, according to the international standards of fair trial.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, stated that such occurrence can be simply considered as revenge. For a long time the Arab and international human rights' organizations and activists have been criticizing the Saudi human rights' violations. Now the Saudi authorities aimed at sending a message to all those human rights' defenders in order to stop criticizing the Saudi policies against human rights, or they will come under the same punishment. They just set an example.

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