Shahenda Fathy, wife of Egyptian lawyer Ahmed al-Gizawy, who is detained in Saudi Arabia, said she visited her husband Thursday at the Saudi general investigations department and he said he had not admitted to possessing drugs.
Fathy made the statement on returning to Cairo on Saturday from Jeddah.
Gizawy was arrested by Saudi authoritieson 17 April on charges of drug smuggling, when he and Fathy were making the Umra pilgrimage to Mecca.
The customs department affiliated to the Saudi Finance Ministry issued a photocopy Saturday of an alleged statement by Gizawy in which he confessed to possessing drugs while entering Saudi Arabia.
Fathy confirmed reports that her husband was arrested on arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
“Contrary to what has been reported in the news, our luggage wasn’t checked. He was held along with the luggage. I was allowed to leave,” Fathy said.
Egyptian media reports said Gizawy was arrested for insulting the Saudi king and criticizing the way Egyptian detainees in Saudi Arabia are treated. Gizawy has previously sued the king and Saudi authorities over the illegal detention and torture of Egyptians in the kingdom, according to the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.
Ensuing protests at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo led the kingdom to recall its ambassador and close its diplomatic missions in Egypt yesterday.
A statement issued by the embassy and confirmed by the Egyptian ambassador to Saudi Arabia mentioned the drugs charge.
Fathy told state-run news agency MENA that she spent six days looking for her husband in vain. After six days’ detention, he was taken from a drug control office to the Saudi general investigations department on 22 April, MENA said.
According to Fathy, the couple traveled from Cairo after completing the airport procedures according to a schedule set by their tourism agency. They had with them two suitcases that weighed no more than 35 kg. Only clothes and food were inside, she said.
She said that the Egyptian consul and four Saudi policemen attended her meeting with Gizawy on Thursday.
A Saudi lawyer is currently assigned to the case, she added, who will coordinate with lawyers in Cairo until Gizawy returns to Egypt.
The Egyptian community in Riyadh expressed disappointment at the tensions in Egypt-Saudi relations. They also said theyresented the protests at the embassy in Cairo and attempts to break into it, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
They called on King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to reopen Saudi diplomatic missions in Egypt and return the ambassador to Cairo.
Edited translation from MENATags: Shahenda Fathy, Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Saudi authorities, Saudi Arabia, investigations department, Ahmed al-Gizawy, Saudi Embassy in Cairo