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5 years, 300 lashes for Egyptian attorney

Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:24 AM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A Saudi court sentenced Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed al-Gizawy to five years in prison and 300 lashes Tuesday for smuggling drugs into the country.

Police arrested Gizawy in April at the Jeddah airport, accusing him of attempting to smuggle Xanax into Saudi Arabia, Egypt Independent reported. He pleaded not guilty.

Activists said the charges were fabricated against the lawyer in retaliation for his work with detainees in Saudi Arabia. His family has petitioned King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz to grant him amnesty.

Saudi prosecutors had initially called for the death penalty for Gizawy, Egypt Independent reported.