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Cairo, 2nd December 2008

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information today filed today a lawsuit with the state council court against the president of the republic to demand the resignation of both Egypt’s minister of foreign affairs, Ahmed Abu Elghait, and the ambassador in Saudi, Mohamed Auf, for, at best their failure to resist or at worst their collusion by silence and ignorance in taking any action to force the release of Egyptian internet activist Yousif Al-Ashmawi Yousif by Saudi authorities, or even revealing the reasons behind his detention, and the nature of the accusations brought against him even though he has been held for almost one hundred days in Riyadh.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information previously released a press statement on 14th October, denouncing the detention. (

Since then the Arabic Network has been expecting some action or comment from the ministry of foreign affairs in Egypt or from the embassy in Saudi Arabia to express their concerns about the freedom of this young Egyptian being held in detention without charge in Saudi. This should form a key part of the scope of their work and expertise – if they are unable to do this they should inform the public and the family of the detainee that they have failed to carry out their role in protecting him, and in discovering the reasons behind his arrest.

The officials concerned in Egypt have chosen to resign and so the Arabic Network has decided to file this case, as it legally represents Ahsmawi’s family, to demand that the president of the republic demands the resignation of Egypt’s minister of the foreign affairs and ambassador in K.S.A. and to replace them with more capable officials who are able to carry out their role in protecting the freedom and rights of Egyptian nationals abroad, especially in the states under despotic rule, where human rights are not regarded such as in Saudi Arabia.

Gamal Eid executive director of ANHRI, and member of Yousif Ashmawi’s defense team stated:

“The officials in the Egyptian embassy in K.S.A. only care about falsifying their efforts to reveal the fate of Yousif Al Ashmawi, while Yousif’s family waits in vain for the minister of foreign affairs to break his silence and publicize the accusations brought against Yousif. Moreover he has neither announced his resignation nor protested against the behavior of the Saudi authorities and their refusal to reveal the charges they are holding him on. So it has become necessary to demand the resignation of this minister and these officials, whether their failure was brought about through failure to act or collusion since the outcome is the same. Other officials who are more capable of taking firm action to protect Egyptians abroad should be assigned to such positions.”

ANHRI announces its intention to transform this lawsuit into a legal battle that gives the citizens the right to demand the resignation of public officials including ministers, and to end up sovereign decisions that might be a pretext for the government to protect officials who are not serious about protecting the rights of Egyptians abroad, to the level that families of those their children are detained in prison by a cold blooded regime known for its detention and torture methods.

It is worth mentioning that the father of Al-Ashmawi is looking for nothing more than finding out the reasons for his son’s detention, and whether he is still alive. He has already sent five complaints to the president of the republic demanding his intervention to help to find out the whereabouts of Yousif and he has also sent three complaints to the King of Saudi Arabia.

ANHRI has also sent many messages to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia foreign ministry, and a petition to the attorney general which made no difference. This has left us with the sole option of issuing this lawsuit to counter both the arrogance of the despot authority in Saudi Arabia, and the failure and collusion of Egyptian officials. Egypt’s constitution states in its introduction that: “The dignity of the individual naturally reflects the dignity of the homeland,” however it seems as though ministers in Egypt do not read the constitution and have little interest but bolstering their image in the media, so it has become necessary to demand their resignation, and to regain this right for the use of the people.

For more information about the case: