The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Wednesday that a Saudi Arabian court has accepted an appeal lodged by two Egyptian nationals who were sentenced to jail time and lashes in January.
Deputy spokesperson for the ministry Nazih El Naggary confirmed that the Egyptian consulate in Jeddah assisted in securing the appeal for Egyptian citizens Ahmed Al-Gizawy and Islam Bakr. El Naggary reported that Consul General Adel Al-Alfi commissioned a legal advisor to push for the appeal.
El Naggary also said that the legal advisor has briefed the two nationals “on the legal dimensions and possibilities arising from appealing the verdict against them.”
Al-Gizawy and Bakr were sentenced in January, along with a Saudi national, and found guilty of smuggling over 20,000 pills of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. Al-Gizawy was sentenced to five years in prison and 300 lashes and Bakr received 6 years and 400 lashes.
Al-Gizawy, a lawyer, was arrested on 17 April 2012. He was on his way to perform Umrah (minor pilgrimage) in Mecca but was detained at King Abdul Aziz airport. His wife Shahenda Al-Gizawy was accompanying him.
Al-Gizawy’s arrest sparked widespread protests in Egypt, prompting Saudi Arabia to recall its ambassador and close its embassy and consulate in Egypt. The case has led to increased strain on Egyptian-Saudi relations.
Members of Al-Gizawy’s family and other protestors gathered outside the Saudi embassy in January following the Saudi court’s judgement, calling for his release.
In September 2012 Al-Gizawy wrote a letter to President Mohamed Morsi asking the president to intervene on behalf of himself and other Egyptians detained in Saudi Arabia.