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ANHRI calls for action in case of Egyptian Internet activist detained in Saudi Arabia

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 21 December 2008, ANHRI said that the administrative judiciary court will review its recently filed claim on 20 January 2009. On 2 December, ANHRI filed a claim against the Egyptian president demanding the dismissal of the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs and the ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This action was brought in response to their failure, thus far, to take any action that might force the Saudi government to reveal the reasons behind the kidnapping of Yousif Ashmawi, an Egyptian internet activist who was arrested on 24 August without any reason being given and with no regard for justice.

ANHRI calls on all Egyptian citizens who have faced injustice abroad and have suffered from the failure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Egyptian embassies to provide adequate support and care for them, to attend their trials or to intervene in any way. They are also invited to make representations before the court with respect to how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' and the embassies' actions have jeopardised the dignity of Egyptians abroad, and made them vulnerable to harassment and violations of their rights, particularly in states that have no respect for humanity or the rights accorded to humanity such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"The administrative judiciary court guarantees every citizen the right to intervene in this case to demonstrate the injustice and harassment he was exposed to abroad without the support of the minister of foreign affairs and the embassies when it was most needed. Let's take an opinion poll on the efficacy of this minister and the embassies. We had the right to expect the minister to resign of his own accord when he failed to protect the dignity of Egyptians abroad according to the oath he made when he was sworn in as a minister," said Gamal Eid, ANHRI's executive director.

According to ANHRI, both the case of Yousif Al Ashmawi and that of Egyptian doctors sentenced to fifteen hundred lashes are a drop in an ocean of violations which Egyptians abroad are subjected to without help or defense, not only in Saudi Arabia but in many other countries as well. "If the People's Council and the government of Egypt are protecting this minister and insist on keeping him in his position, the Egyptian judiciary is the last hope for any citizen whose dignity has been destroyed and whose rights have been trampled on abroad," said Eid.

"All that is required of any citizen whose family or who himself has faced violations abroad is that he should come with his ID and intervene in the case. The Legal Aid Unit for Freedom of Expression will provide the required legal aid for him, and document his case," Eid added.

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