حفلة 2024

El Gezawi Could Face Death Sentence

An Egyptian lawyer whose arrest in April led to a diplomatic spat between Egypt and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been charged with drug smuggling and could face the death penalty, his lawyer told Reuters on Thursday.

Ahmed el-Gezawi was arrested for drug possession as he was trying the enter the kingdom at the Jeddah airport in April. His arrest led to demonstrations outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo, where almost 1,000 people hurled insults at the kingdom’s rulers, leading it to recall its ambassador on April 28.

The case sparked protests in Cairo, prompting Riyadh to close its embassy there in a sign of its deepening anxiety about the future direction of a formerly close ally after last year’s revolution.

The ambassador returned to Cairo a week later after high-level Egyptian delegations visited Riyadh to assure the Saudi authorities they were committed to the relationship. Saudi Arabia is a major donor of aid to Egypt.

“Yesterday was the first session in his trial. We received the list of charges and requested some time to present our defence so the case was delayed until September 5,” Gezawi’s Saudi lawyer, Hesham Hanboli, told Reuters by phone on Thursday.

Wednesday’s hearing was devoted to the formal declaration of charges and Gezawi’s response and presentation of a defence will take place in the subsequent court session, the lawyer said.

Reuters

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