Immigrant woman in Wal-mart controversy dies in Egypt
An elderly Egyptian woman who failed to appear in a Greensboro courtroom on charges stemming from a November 2004 incident in which she was arrested at Wal-Mart, died in an Egyptian hospital March 8, according to a family friend.
The Greensboro Police Department’s handling of the arrest of Afaf Saudi at the Battleground Avenue Wal-Mart upset many members of the Muslim community and sparked a public discussion about miscommunication between immigrants and police.
Saudi, who was 68, returned to Egypt sometime in January to get medical care, said Isa Abuzuaider, a family friend who is president of the Islamic Center of the Triad’s trustees.
Abuzuaider said Saudi’s husband lives in Egypt, and she was able to get free medical care through him. She’d had previous health problems and suffered from a dislocated arm during her arrest, he said. He did not know the exact cause of her death.
Abuzaider said he learned of Saudi’s death from a phone call from her son.
Saudi failed to appear in court in Greensboro on March 4, and Judge Robbie Hassell ordered her arrest.
‘“I would like to see them deliver the warrant to her,’” Abuzuaider said. ‘“She’s in a higher place now with a higher authority.’”
District Attorney Stuart Albright had previously declined to drop charges against Saudi. He said March 9 that he will dismiss the case once he confirms Saudi’s death with her lawyer, Seth Cohen.
‘“It’s terrible news that she’s died,’” he said, ‘“and obviously we don’t prosecute people who have passed away.’”