Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Syria: Former hostages recount 10-month ordeal

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexis Tsipras, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, European Left Party

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • Russia vows to respond if 'attacked' in Ukraine

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

  • Photos link ‘little green men’ in Ukraine to Russian troops

    Read more

  • New anti-radicalisation plans aimed at fighting jihadism

    Read more

Africa

Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador to Egypt

©

Video by Kathryn STAPLEY

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-28

Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it has recalled its ambassador from Egypt and closed its embassies and consulates following protests against the Saudi arrest of an Egyptian human rights activist in Jeddah.

AP - Saudi Arabia closed its Cairo embassy and recalled its ambassador following protests over a detained Egyptian human rights lawyer.

The unexpected escalation followed days of protests by hundreds of Egyptians outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo and consulates in other cities to demand the release of Ahmed el-Gezawi.

Relatives and human rights groups say he was detained for allegedly insulting the kingdom’s monarch.

Saudi authorities denied that and said he was arrested for trying to smuggle anti-anxiety drugs into the oil-rich kingdom.

It was worst diplomatic tiff between the two regional powerhouses since Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries broke off diplomatic ties with Egypt after it signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979. Diplomatic relations were restored in 1987.

El-Gezawi’s case has revived long-standing resentment over the treatment of Egyptians working in Saudi, which is a destination for more than a million Egyptians searching for better jobs.

The lawyer flew to Jiddah on his way to perform a minor pilgrimage, called umrah, to Islam’s holy shrines in the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, said his sister Shereen el-Gezawi. The fact that he was arrested on his way to perform a religious rite further enflamed Egyptian sentiment.

His family said he had been convicted in absentia and sentenced to a year in prison and 20 lashes by a Saudi court for insulting the king. However he was not notified of the court’s ruling ahead of his Saudi trip. El-Gezawi had earlier filed a lawsuit in Egypt against King Abdullah over the alleged arbitrary detention of hundreds of Egyptians.

Outside the Cairo embassy earlier this week, protesters chanted, “Down, down with Al-Saud!” referring to the Saudi royal family and “Screw you, your majesty!” in reference to King Abdullah, the aging Saudi monarch.

The demonstrators called for the expulsion of the Saudi ambassador in Cairo, and some raised their shoes alongside a picture of Abdullah, a sign of deep contempt in the Arab world. Others climbed over the walls of the embassy in Cairo. In the consulate in the port city of Suez, protesters blocked staff from leaving Thursday, prompting the military to evacuate them.

The Saudi news agency, quoting a foreign ministry official, said the protests were “unjustified” and attempts to storm the missions threatened the safety of diplomatic staff, in a violation of international conventions. The protests, the official statement said, were a violation of the “sanctity and sovereignty of diplomatic missions.”

The agency also said the ambassador was recalled for “consultation.”

Egypt’s foreign ministry had no immediate official reaction.

Egyptian protesters also were resentful of their government’s reaction to the case, raising questions about whether it does enough to protect its citizens. Many activists also claim Egypt curbs its criticism so as not to alienate the wealthy kingdom or endanger Egyptian jobs there.

Egyptians also held rallies outside the Foreign Ministry in Cairo, demanding the Egyptian ambassador in Saudi Arabia be questioned over his handling of el-Gezawi's case.

Date created : 2012-04-28

Comments

COMMENT(S)