Egypt's government files new appeal against administrative court's anullment of Red Sea island deal

Ahram Online , Tuesday 29 Nov 2016

Khaled Ali
Rights lawyer Khaled Ali who is a member of the legal team challenging the Red Sea island deal (File Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian government submitted Monday two appeals against an administrative court's November decisions which upheld a June 2016 court ruling that affirmed Egyptian sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir.

The June ruling voided an April 2016 agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia which placed the islands under Saudi sovereignty.

A number of citizens and lawyers, including rights lawyer Khaled Ali, had filed a lawsuit with Egypt's administrative court at the State Council against the maritime deal, asking the court to rule the islands are Egyptian.

Two weeks ago, the administrative court issued verdicts on two separate motions by the government and lawyers defending the June ruling.

First, the judges rejected the government's request to suspend the execution of the June ruling, and fined it EGP 800.

Second, the court accepted a request filed by Ali and defence lawyers to compel the state to execute the June verdict.   

The State Lawsuits Authority, the legal body representing the government, have challenged the two decisions on behalf of the cabinet, the presidency and parliament.  

The November administrative court's verdict would not end legal questions on the status of the two islands, as the High Administrative Court and Supreme Constitutional Court, the country's highest court, are hearing various motions in the dispute.

The government has appealed June's administrative court verdict before the High Administrative Court and Supreme Constitutional Court.

The High Administrative Court's next session to continue hearings into the government's appeals is scheduled for 5 December.

In late September, the Court for Urgent Matters accepted a government challenge to the jurisdiction of administrative courts over issues of sovereignty, and voided the June decision.

The Egyptian government said that the Islands had always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Egypt had been merely administering them on behalf of the kingdom since the 1950s.

The decision to transfer the two strategic islands at the southern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia has sparked widespread public outcry in the country.

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