Nagla Wafa, an Egyptian wedding planner and designer, has been sentenced to 500 lashes and five years in prison in Saudi Arabia. The sentencing came after a business dispute with a Saudi princess in 2009.
On August 26, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said in a statement on its website, “As of May of 2012, Ms. Wafa has been subjected, on a weekly basis, to 50 floggings per week within the ‘Al-Malz’ Prison. She currently faces 200 more floggings ... despite her suffering from distortions to her spine."
Wafa has been detained since 2009, but her case only recently gained notoriety after Essam Al-Arian, vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, called for her freedom on Sunday. On his Twitter account he said, “The [Egyptian] foreign ministry is still silent about Nagla Wafa, who is imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Why doesn’t the kingdom announce the truths of the case so that such regretful mishaps do not recur? We need clarity."
Wafa was accused by the Saudi royal family of cashing a check from the princess but not following through on their deal to start a restaurant, the LA Times reported.
Nashwa Ismael, Wafa’s mother, who lives in Cairo, told the LA Times that her daughter had been jailed for nearly 20 months before she was made aware of the fraud accusations against her.
“Nagla’s case should have appeared before a business court and she should have been notified of her accusations right away,“ Ismael told The Times.
According to Ahram Online, Wafa was forbidden from hiring a trial lawyer at the time of her arrest. The family was not able to find a Saudi Arabian lawyer to take Wafa’s case until June of 2012.
So far there have been no official statements on the case from either Saudi Arabian or Egyptian officials, according to reports.