By Basil El-Dabh
The General Court in Saudi Arabia overseeing the case against Egyptian lawyer Ahmed Al-Gizawy on Wednesday postponed the case until 5 September to give the defense time to look over the court documents.
Saudi prosecutors have requested the death penalty for the Egyptian lawyer accused of bringing illicit drugs into Saudi Arabia last April.
Although Al-Gizawy is being brought up on drug charges, many activists point to his past efforts in campaigning against abuses of Egyptian workers in the Kingdom as a motive for his arrest.
Al-Gizawy is standing trial with another Egyptian, Islam Bakr, who faces the same charges. Little is known about Bakr.
The trial has created tension in relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Public pressure and protesting outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo led to its closing and the brief recalling of its ambassador.
Egyptian protesters have called on newly-elected President Mohamed Morsy to intervene and take steps to bring Al-Gizawy back to Egypt, but the issue of the trial was not publicly raised during Morsy’s visit with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Saudi Arabia last week.
Amr Shalakany, Associate Professor of Law at the American University of Cairo, is quick to point out that there is no independent judiciary in KSA making it impossible to anticipate what will come in terms of sentencing or a possible pardon. “The two countries could strike a deal that leads to a pardon,” Shalakany said, but a lack of political transparency and independent courts have created nothing but speculation until the court reconvenes in September.