Living in and being part of a tolerant and foundationally-dominant Christian country where all faiths and atheism are allowed, many Americans cannot conceive the reality of life in non-Christian countries. Saudi Arabia is one example of a country whose government consistently exudes cruelty, especially toward women, in spite of having signed an agreement with the United Nations Convention against Torture.
As Alkarama notes about Saudi Arabia, “….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.”
Seven years ago Nagla Wafa, mother of two, settled in Riyadh with her husband and started a career in flower arrangement and the planning of weddings. Often hob-knobbing with the social elite, including royalty, in time she faced much success. It then so happened a daughter of the king wanted in as a partner.
According to Yehia Wafa, Wafa’s father, the princess wanted to be the kind of partner who doesn’t contribute money to the business. She also hung out with suspicious characters as Yehia explained,
“Nagla chose to stay away from the people the princess associated with as she knew their work wasn’t that honest, however they succeeded in turning the princess against my daughter and over night the princess stopped answering Nagla’s phone calls.” Source
In September of 2009, Ms. Wafa was arrested by accusation of the partner princess but was not told of “fraud” charges until 20 months later. In June of 2011, she was found guilty of cashing a check from the princess and not using the money for which it was supposedly intended; i.e., to start a restaurant.
For such a crime, even though no evidence was found, Wafa was sentenced to 5 years in jail and 500 lashes. Because there was no evidence, the Supreme Court repealed the sentence, but their repeal was illegally ignored. Wafa has thus far suffered 300 of the 500 lashes dictated at a rate of 50 lashes per week. As a result, according to medical reports, she now suffers from spinal curvature. Source
Efforts for justice
Ms Sherin Farid, Association for the Families of Egyptian Detainees in Saudi Arabia, called the flogging inhumane and holds the Saudi government responsible, adding, “unfortunately the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did nothing to protect Ms Wafa.” Source
Ahmed Mefreh, Legal Coordinator for the Alkarama Foundation/Egypt, said a complaint has been filed with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This case is simply one out of hundreds of similar “cases of Egyptian citizens who are unfairly detained for long periods, tried in unjust show trials, and subjected to torture and mistreatment.” Source
In addition to the letter of complaint to the United Nations, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issued an official statement condemning her detention. EOHR head Hafez Abo Seada spoke out against the “blatant violations of international standards and treaties,” as he commented,
“What this Egyptian citizen has been exposed to violates all international human rights charters.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and President Mohamed Morsi need to interfere immediately.” Source
Indeed. Let us pray for success of the campaign to soon free Nagla Wafa.