Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Elderly Egyptian woman arrested for 'smuggling' drugs into Saudi Arabia

Saadeya Hammad Source: Cairo Scene
Last week, Saudi authorities arrested a 75-year-old Egyptian citizen, identified as Saadeya Hammad, for smuggling drugs into the country.
The news sparked protests in Hammad's hometown, the Darin village of Nabaruh city, Egypt.
Hundreds of Egyptians protesting outside Hammad's house claimed the old lady was tricked by her neighbor after awarding her an all-expenses-paid trip to Saudi Arabia so she could perform the pilgrimage of Umrah.
According to neighbors, the conman behind the operation convinced the illiterate woman that she was one of 15 people chosen to perform Umrah at the expense of a Saudi businessman.
Upon her arrival into the kingdom's Yanbu Airport, Hammad was arrested by local authorities on charges of drug trafficking.

Hundreds of protesters chanted "She's innocent" in Nabaruh

After receiving a call from her mother telling her she has been arrested, Hammad's daughter clarified that the man behind the operation "demanded that all the arrangements be kept secret".
"We were very happy that our mother would travel to perform Umrah. My mother headed to Cairo airport and the man told her not to bring anything with her, as they will give her everything upon arrival," she said, according to Egypt Independent.
"At Cairo airport, he gave her a handbag to deliver to the Saudi businessman who donated her trip. He told her that the bag only included papers for the benefactor, who would recognize her upon arrival in Saudi Arabia," she added.

Hammad's daughter claims her mother is innocent, pleading for help from President Sisi

Two convicts behind the operation have since been arrested

According to Egyptian police, three suspects were involved in the operation: Abdallah Mohamed al-Manzalawy, his sister Jariah Abdallah al-Manzalawy, and her husband Mohamed Fayek Jaafar. 
Both the sister and her husband have now been arrested after escaping from their hometown once they learned of Hammad's arrest. The sister and her husband denied having any knowledge about the drugs. 
Al-Manzalawy gave Hammad a bag containing 17,000 pills of Tramadol at the airport in Cairo, which she was instructed to deliver to the businessman who paid for her trip, according to the Al-Manzalawy sister.

Surveillance footage of the conman later emerged

Two days after Hammad's arrest, Mahmoud Al-Tunsi, the owner of a tourism company in Egypt, posted a YouTube video of surveillance footage from his office, showing Al-Manzalawy filing for Hammad's travel arrangements.
Al-Tunsi was suspicious after Al-Manzalawy filed for two Umrah visas, one for Hammad on the 20th of March, and one for another Egyptian woman on the 17th of the same month.

Not the first time an Egyptian was caught smuggling drugs...

Source: akc
This isn't the first time an Egyptian made it to the news for a drug-related incident. Saudi border agents have previously arrested two Egyptians attempting to smuggle hundreds of thousands of Captagon tablets into the kingdom.
Earlier this year, a British woman was pardoned from a three-year prison sentence for smuggling 290 tablets of Tramadol to Egypt. 
Laura Plummer, who was detained in Egypt for three months before being released, arrived in the country in October to visit her Egyptian partner.
Drug addiction has now reached over 9 million people in Egypt, a staggering 10 percent of the country's population, according to Ghada Wali, Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity. 
Wali also noted that the illegal painkiller Tramadol, which Hammad was caught smuggling from Egypt, is the most commonly abused drug in the country

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