An Egyptian fashion designer and mother of two received the final 50 lashes of her 500 lash sentence early Monday morning.
Najla Wafa had an appeal for amnesty postponed on Saturday and remains in jail because she still has time left to serve in prison, despite having received her lash sentence.
Wafa was arrested in September 2009 following a business dispute with a princess of the Saudi royal family. She was sentenced to five years in prison and 500 lashes in June 2011.
Saturday was the yearly amnesty hearing where lawyers can come forth and request that the Saudi judiciary grant their client a royal pardon.
This year, Wafa’s lawyers were hopeful that her release could be ensured by this means. However, when Abu Abdallah, Wafa’s lawyer, appeared for the amnesty hearing, the judge was not in possession of Wafa’s legal file.
“Every year it is not there,” said Salma Ashraf who works in the Egyptian branch of Alkarama, a rights group that has been keeping close tabs on the Wafa case. Ashraf said that Abdallah was summoned to the court and “when he gets there, there are files, but he can’t find her name. So he caused a big problem.”
The judge chastised Abdallah for his efforts saying: “You are Saudi, she is Egyptian, why are you helping her?”
Abdallah was resilient and ended up winning a postponement of Wafa’s amnesty hearing.
However, after ensuring the postponement, Abdallah himself was then detained in Riyadh for a period of 24 hours.
At 7am on Monday, Wafa received her 450th through 500th lash. The lashes are doled out in increments because they cannot be borne at one time.
Ashraf said that Wafa “has committed all of the lashes and more than half of the time,” so now Wafa’s lawyer and the Egyptian embassy are pleading first and foremost for her release with the caveat that the resolution of her dispute can be finalised later.