Egyptians Protest Doctor's 1,500-Lash Sentence in Saudi Arabia
Egyptian doctors and activists comfort Amin Arabi, the father of doctor Raouf Arabi who was sentenced by a Saudi court to 15-years in prison.
CAIRO, Egypt — Demonstrators in Cairo demanded Tuesday that Saudi Arabia release an Egyptian doctor sentenced to 15 years in prison and 1,500 lashes after he was convicted of malpractice — reportedly after treating a Saudi princess.
His wife said she feared the punishment would kill him.
El-Arabi is in a jail in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and is believed to have received at least one of his weekly installments of 70 lashes so far.
Raouf Amin el-Arabi, a doctor who has been serving the Saudi royal family for about 20 years, was convicted last year of giving a patient the wrong medication. Egyptian newspapers reported that he was accused of driving a Saudi princess "to addiction."
He initially was sentenced to seven years in prison and 700 lashes, but when he appealed two months ago, the judge not only upheld the conviction, but more than doubled the penalty to 15 years in prison and 1,500 lashes.
Family members, friends and colleagues gathered at the headquarters of Egypt's doctors' union in downtown Cairo and urged Saudi King Abdullah to pardon el-Arabi.
"My children want their father to return swiftly and safely," the doctor's wife Fathiya el-Hindawi told the Associated Press. "I hope the king will give them back their smiles."
She maintained her 53-year-old husband was innocent and feared he would die if given the full penalty.