Two Saudi men were arrested in Cairo International Airport on Tuesday for attempting to smuggle drugs out of the country, according to Brigadier General Ahmad Saleh, head of public relations management in the airport.
“They were two Saudi Arabian passengers headed for Riyadh,” Saleh said, “as they were being searched and passed through the X-ray machine, it was discovered that they were hiding within their clothes 12,500 pills of Xanax; a drug used for nerve diseases.”
The two were presented to prosecution, according to Saleh, which is now requesting an investigation.
The case is reminiscent of that of Ahmed Al-Gizawy, an Egyptian lawyer arrested in mid-April in Saudi Arabia on his way to perform Omra (pilgrimage) with his wife. He was charged with smuggling drugs and has since been detained in a prison in the kingdom.
His family is convinced that the charges are politically motivated. Al-Gizawy is a lawyer who frequently advocated for reform of Saudi Arabian policies.
“There won’t be a strong relation between both cases, legally speaking,” Rawda Ahmed Al-Sayed, director of the legal support unit in the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), said. ANHRI is closely following the case of Al-Gizawy’s trial. “Al-Gizawy’s trial is already moving forward and a verdict is soon to be released. It’s not likely that it will be affected by the recent arrest of the two Saudis.”
In his latest session in court on 5 September, Al-Gizawy denied the charges. The session was adjourned till 26 September.
Al-Sayed told Daily News Egypt that the ANHRI’s research unit will closely follow the case of the detained Saudi Arabians and see how the Egyptian officials treat them, in order to assure reciprocity in treatment.
“In all previous cases, any Saudis arrested on Egyptian soil were either questioned then released or deported back to their country,” Al-Sayed said. “We’ve never before heard of any Saudi who was detained by Egyptian forces.”
This isn’t the case with Egyptians arrested in Saudi Arabia. According to Al-Sayed, there are 40 known cases of Egyptians detained in Saudi Arabia. “There could be many others that we don’t know of.”
The media centre of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Egypt told Daily News Egypt they know nothing of the Saudi Arabian men’s arrest.
The case of Al-Gizawy shook up Egyptian-Saudi relations after protests in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Cairo demanding Al-Gizawy’s release. In response, Riyadh recalled its ambassador to Egypt and shut down its embassy in Cairo as well as its consulates in Alexandria and Suez, according to France 24. The embassy was soon reopened following Egyptian popular delegations’ visits to the Saudi king.