Dozens protest detention of Egyptian citizen in Saudi Arabia

Dozens of activists and relatives of Egyptian detainees in Saudi Arabia protested Saturday outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo to denounce the lashing of Nagla Wafa, an Egyptian citizen residing in Saudi Arabia, and to demand the dismissal of the Egyptian foreign minister and the expulsion of the Saudi Ambassador.

During the protest, called for by former MP Hamdy al-Fakharany, demonstrators chanted, "The people want to lash the ambassador, the people want to expel the ambassador," and "Oh Qattan listen to that, we will not pass this kind of farce this time."

They raised banners reading, "No to lashing Egyptians' dignity after the revolution," and "Freedom to Nagla and all Egyptian detainees."

"Continuing the series of [insults to] Egyptians in Saudi Arabia points out the unmerciful people who do not care about the dignity of the Egyptian people. If Nagla had been an American or an Iranian, they wouldn't have dared to do such an act to her," Fakharany said.

"We reject insulting the dignity of Egyptians abroad, especially in Saudi Arabia. Nagla is from a decent family in Gharbiya, and her father is a professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Tanta," he told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Journalist Hoda Nour Zaki told Al-Masry Al-Youm, "Wasting the Egyptian people's dignity is a continuation of what was happening before the revolution." She criticized former People's Assembly speaker Saad al-Katatny and President Mohamed Morsy's visits to Saudi Arabia, saying they went to apologize although Egyptians were the ones demanding apologies.

A number of human rights organizations had demanded that Saudi Arabia release Wafa and cancel her sentence.

Wafa was sentenced to five years in prison and 500 lashes on charges of embezzling 2 million riyals from a Saudi princess. Her mother, Nashwa al-Saeedy, refused to disclose the name of the princess, but said she is a first degree relative of the king. She added the princess’s lawyer exploited his connections with the now-dissolved State Security Service.

Wafa has already spent three years in prison and received 300 lashes after being arrested in Saudi Arabia on 30 September 2009.

The family of Wafa said they were told that their daughter would be held in prison for life if they reported the matter to the media.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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