The Saudi Ambassador to Egypt, Ahmed Qattan, announced Thursday that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia will issue pardons for some Egyptian prisoners as is custom for the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Egyptian lawyer Ahmed Al-Gizawy and Islam Bakr are not included among those pardoned, as prisoners must stand trial before becoming eligible.
Gamal Eid of The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information stressed the absence of justice in the Saudi Arabian judicial system. Currently 32 Egyptians are detained in Saudi Arabia without any pending charges. Many verdicts and pardons are politically motivated, Eid said.
Due to lack of transparency and a politically-motivated judicial system, the outcomes of trials of foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia are often difficult to predict. However, Eid speculates that Al-Gizawy will be handed a harsh sentence, only to be pardoned by King Abdullah in a manufactured and grandiose gesture of diplomacy.
Al-Gizawy is facing drug smuggling charges, although much speculation surrounds the motivation behind his conviction as he has been an active critic of Egyptian labour conditions in Saudi Arabia.
In his appearance in court last week, Al-Gizawy revealed bruises he had obtained while in custody. His trial resumes in September and he faces the possibility of a death penalty.
Protesting at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Cairo pursued shortly following Al-Gizawy’s arrest, forcing the temporary recalling of the Saudi Ambassador. The case and its publicity has contributed to tensions between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and many have pressured President Mohamed Morsy to resolve the issue with the Saudi Arabian government.
Many Egyptians living in Saudi Arabia complain of poor treatment.