Egyptian Doctor Severely Punished for treatment of Saudi Princess

Dr-raouf-aminEgyptian Doctor Raouf Amin languishes in a Saudi jail and is punished with 70 lashes once a week. Cut off from his family in Egypt, the 52-year-old doctor was convicted for prescribing painkillers to a Saudi princess that led to her addiction.

An appeal court judge ruled that Amin will be beaten weekly until he has received 1,500 lashes – and then he’ll spend another 14 years behind bars.

The judge doubled the original punishment meted out to him a little over one year ago in the lower court where Amin was sentenced to a seven-year jail term with 750 lashes.

Not surprisingly, human rights groups and the Egyptian doctor’s syndicate are outraged.

The Middle East Times was told by a human rights lawyer that Amin was given his first 70 lashes last week and will get 70 more this week.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and the foreign ministry are taking an earnest look into finding a way to have Amin quickly returned to Egypt.

The doctor, who has lived and worked in the Gulf state for more than 20 years, had been treating the princess for several months for back pains after she visited the hospital in which he worked.

Ahmed Amin, the doctor’s son, who himself was born in Saudi Arabia, claims the woman went into the hospital and specified the medication she wanted.

The woman had been receiving similar treatment in the United States after she had fallen from a horse while riding.

Hafez Abu Saeda, the director of EOHR concurred that the medication Amin had prescribed was the same as the woman had been receiving in the United States, “so it is obvious that the doctor was not at fault for her addiction,” Abu Saeda concluded.

“It is a harsh sentence that really must be looked at,” he said at his Cairo office, flipping through reports on Amin’s case.

Abu Saeda was astounded that the appeal judge gave a stiffer penalty than in the original case. It is tantamount, he said, to penalizing Amin for asserting his right of appeal.

“When you appeal against a sentencing it is the rule that it cannot go higher, but in Saudi Arabia it appears anything is possible.”

Abu Saeda said he has been in contact with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to publicize the jailing.

Also, the Doctor’s Syndicate in Cairo has threatened demonstrations in support of Amin.

On Monday, a small sit-in led by human rights activists and Amin’s son was held in front of the Saudi Embassy in Cairo, as a means of publicizing the sentence.

Their threats have driven the Egyptian foreign ministry to seek a solution, partly out of concern that negative repercussions in Egypt may damage relations between Cairo and Riyadh.

“We have been in contact with the foreign ministry, which has asked us for information and help to end this crisis,” Abu Saeda said, half-laughing at how quickly the government is willing to call on human rights organizations when the case is outside Egypt’s borders.

“This is strange, because if this had happened in Egypt they would be against us; but because it happened in Saudi then it is okay to work with us,” he smiled, cynically.

The Egyptian government and human rights groups have often been at odds over cases in Egypt. And especially in recent months over alleged police torture and brutality that rights groups say is endemic to the country. The state denies these incidents as mainstream, arguing that they are not the rule.

In advising ministry officials, Abu Saeda said his organization is trying to push forward points that are essential to Amin’s defense.

First, he said, Amin was not given a fair trial and this must be stated up front.

And second, the “continuous use of physical punishment is prohibited under international law in these situations and must be discontinued.”

He believes that with pressure, the Saudi government will release Amin and let him return to Egypt, “but pressure must continue. We will not stop our campaign until he is released.”

Both the Egyptian foreign ministry and the Saudi Embassy in Cairo refused to comment on the case, saying the matter is still under investigation.

The foreign ministry would only tell the Middle East Times that they “are working hard to have an Egyptian citizen returned to Egypt in the face of such harsh conditions.”

Amin’s family are grateful for any help they can get and welcome the Egyptian government’s actions as a chance to move forward.

“The last time I saw my father was over a year ago,” Hafez, his son said. “We can’t visit and we can’t get a visa since his residency was dropped. We can’t even talk to him over the phone; there is no connection between us right now.”

3 comments to Egyptian Doctor Severely Punished for treatment of Saudi Princess

  • God curse the saudies nd their families

    Its da most stupid country in da world

    They are barbaric ppl far away 4m any kind of religion

    I swear if im there ill take action nd torture them all my way so they wil knw hw 2respect humans

    Please God cure the world 4m them they are the disease nd must be elimenated

  • elsayed

    etako allah alazy nakalakom min rekob al EPEL ela rekob al OPEL

  • Rajesh

    The inconsistencies in advancement especially that of civilisation is evident here. The Saudis think they are right and the rest don't.

    While introducing 'civilisation' and facilitating development, the world forgot that culture is garnered across generations and not from a pill you swallow!

    I feel sorry for the doctor…

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