Cairo, 17 October 2011
ANHRI expressed today its surprise that the Egyptian government and the ruling Military Council exerted so much efforts to release Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier detained in Gaza, and return him to Israeli, while they disregard the Egyptian citizens detained in Saudi Arabia. These efforts may alleviate the Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian people. However, the situation poses important questions on the reasons behind the negligence of tens of Egyptians detained in Saudi Arabia without investigations or charges for years, including the Egyptian engineer Youssef Ashmawy.
ANHRI and Ashmawy’s family had filed several complaints to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi ambassador in Cairo, and even the disposed president and the Saudi king, appealing for his release. Ashmawy has been kidnapped by the Saudi security since 24 August 2008 and was transferred multiple times between different prisons without a fair investigation or trial for any violation of law, if any. However, these complaints have not been heeded until this day.
Albeit the Egyptian government had released some Saudi criminal convicts, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained the silence on the demand to release Ashmawy and many other Egyptian prisoners who are unjustly detained in Saudi Arabia. Such silence maintained the ongoing sufferings of these Egyptians and their families.
“Heedlessness of the law and wasting the rights of the Egyptians in Saudi Arabia by Saudi officials come as no surprise. While he pays no attention to the law and detains Egyptian citizens without a trial, the Saudi Interior Minister dares to attack 6 April Movement and demands them to publicly apologize for what he claims to be an offense against Saudi Arabia! He has not even bothered to respond to ANHRI’s complaint, or the complaint of Ashmawy’s family” said Gamal Eid, Executive Manager of ANHRI.
“We affirm once more that there are no political considerations or balances that allow the Military Council or the government of Essam Sharaf to neglect the injustice of Saudi Arabia against Egyptian citizens, especially after the revolution of dignity in Egypt. Their efforts to release the Israeli soldier certainly do not contradict with exerting similar efforts to release Ashmawy and tens of other Egyptians -whom ANHRI has a list of their names- detained in a state that is famous for repression and despotism like Saudi Arabia” Added Eid.
For more information on the case of Youssef Ashmawy: