Human rights organisations have called for an investigation into the arrest and subsequent conviction of Egyptian Najla Yehya Wafa in Saudi Arabia. Wafa was arrested in September 2009 following a business dispute with a princess of the Saudi royal family.
She was then held in detention for over a year and a half before she was sentenced to five years in prison and 500 lashes in June 2011. Such a high number of lashes are carried out incrementally over a period of time. Saudi authorities have reported that Wafa has been given 300 of her lashes and will be administered the remaining 200 after Ramadan.
The Center for Egyptian Legal Women Assistance (CEWLA) released a statement calling for the Egyptian Office of the President and the Foreign Ministry to “intervene immediately” to halt the continuation of the lashing, form a legal committee to investigate the case and litigation that led to Wafa’s conviction, and take judicial and political measures to release Wafa.
Alkarama, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors human rights violations throughout the Arab world, has appealed for the United Nations to take action. “Saudi Arabia is a signatory of the United Nations Convention against Torture, but its human rights record is full of breaches of this convention: arbitrary arrests, torture and degrading treatment of Saudi citizens, and especially of foreign workers are commonplace,” the organisation said in an August statement.
“The Egyptian Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not responded to our requests to take action, “ said Alkarama representative in Egypt, Ahmed Mefreh, “and this is just one of hundreds of cases.”