Friday, 26 December, 2008

No Saudi held for spying: Egypt

December 26: Egypt's foreign ministry has denied claims by a human rights group that an Egyptian man was being detained in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of spying but was instead facing unspecified "security charges".

The Egypt-based Arabic Network for Human Rights had said that software engineer Yusef Ashmawi, who has been held in Saudi Arabia for four months, was accused of spying for Egypt.

"During the only visit he was allowed, he told his brother-in-law that he was being accused of spying on Saudi intelligence and relaying the information to Egypt," the network's chief Gamal Eid said.

But Egyptian consular affairs official Ahmed Rizq told media agencies that Ashmawi, who was contracted to work for the Saudi defence ministry and intelligence services, was categorically not accused of being a spy. The charge is not spying.

Many Egyptians work in sensitive workplaces in Saudi Arabia," he said, adding that the charges were "security related" without giving further information. Rizq had said in a statement on Thursday that the foreign ministry was following the case.

Saudi authorities have said that they have been detaining Ashmawi for several months in a security case, but they have not yet told us the nature of the case," he said.