Saudi legal expert: Gizawy sentence could be pardoned or reduced by king

An Egyptian lawyer who was arrested in Saudi Arabia on charges of smuggling banned pills could be pardoned by the king, because no punishment is determined for this crime in Sharia, the Saudi newspaper Al-Eqtisadia quoted a legal expert as saying Tuesday.

Saudi Human Rights Commission legal adviser Omar al-Kholy said the commission is following the case and that it did not observe any violations during the investigation or interrogations. He said the defendant, Ahmed al-Gizawy, was being treated according to regulations.

Saudi authorities had arrested Gizawy for allegedly smuggling Xanax pills into the country. Gizawy had filed a lawsuit over Saudi treatment of Egyptians working in the kingdom.

Gizawy’s lawyer, Ahmed Rashed, told the Saudi Al-Watan newspaper that the pharmacy owner and accountant who are accused of helping Gizawy said they did not know him. Rashed said this was his client’s first visit to Saudi Arabia, so how could he know these people and their phone numbers?

Rashed said professional smugglers were behind the matter and that they wanted to undermine his client by asking him to carry the drugs with him, a favor for which he received no financial gain.

The case could not be classified as a criminal case, Rashed said. He pledged to soon reveal new details that would favor his client.

Gizawy’s criminal record is free of any similar crimes, Rashed said, and evidence showed he was not being monitored.

He said Gizawy and his wife had traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Umra pilgrimage and that all evidence supports his innocence.

Rashed said he had submitted a request to the Saudi Human Rights Commission to end his client’s detention at the Drug Combating Department, because the drugs Gizawy had allegedly carried could be classified as medication for epilepsy or depression.

Galal Saif, a psychiatrist at Al-Amal Hospital in Jeddah, said the drug belongs to a group of hypnotics and sedatives that can only be dispensed with a psychiatrist’s prescription under strict controls.

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