Sabri Massad: Egyptian doctor sentenced to 20 years in Saudi Arabia over political charges

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A Saudi court has issued a prison sentence for an Egyptian doctor on political charges after he demanded financial rights from the Saudi government.

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms said that the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh had sentenced Dr Sabri Massad Ibrahim Shalaby to twenty years in prison on charges of joining and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian Civil Society Organization concerned with human rights added that Shalaby had filed an administrative lawsuit in 2017 to demand financial dues to him in the custody of the Saudi Ministry of Health, in which he has been working since 2006, and that a ruling was passed in his favour at the end of 2019, to re-settlement his salary retroactively for the duration of his work. After confirming an error in his financial transactions, he paid compensation less than the salary assigned to his title and paid payment less than the wage posted to his job title.

The organization added that after the ruling, the ministry appealed, arbitrarily terminated his contract, and issued him a final exit visa. However, before the appeal session, he was arrested on January 28, 2020, by a group that identified themselves as a security agency affiliated with the General Directorate of Investigations in Tabuk City. And remained in detention until the sentencing of his imprisonment. The organization explained that the Criminal Court is one of the Saudi courts that specializes in cases related to terrorism and has nothing to do with administrative issues.

A member of the doctor’s family, who resides in Paris, told (Egypt Watch) that he had tried several times to communicate with the Saudi authorities directly or through the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to no avail, and that he had known that his father had been pressured to drop the case against him. The Saudi government waived its dues. He added that in conjunction with his father’s sentencing, a group of Saudi employees were arrested, who seized the dues of a large number of foreign employees, one of whom was the convicted doctor.

The Saudi Control and Anti-Corruption Authority announced the suspension of five employees of the Ministry of Health for seizing an amount of (9,263,900) Saudi riyals, which is the salaries and entitlements of foreign ministry employees who left the Kingdom after the end of their contracts, by modifying and adding the bank account numbers belonging to them and their acquaintances. But without clarifying whether the Egyptian doctor, Sabri Shalaby, was among them or not. The Egyptian community in Saudi Arabia is the most significant worldwide, with more than three million Egyptians working various jobs and professions.