Rights lawyer Khaled Ali who is a member of the legal team challenging the Red Sea island deal (File Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's High Administrative Court adjourned on Monday the hearing of a government appeal against an administrative court June 2016 ruling that affirmed Egyptian sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to 19 December.
The June ruling voided an April 2016 agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia which placed the islands of South Sinai under Saudi sovereignty.
In the first session of the high administrative court today, defense lawyer Khaled Ali submitted 13 documents affirming Egyptian sovereignty over the two islands including three maps of Egyptian territory in 1912, 1943 and 1950 from the Egyptian Survey Authority.
Ali said that the Egyptian National Library and Archives is stalling in giving him authorized documents to make his case.
Ali also told Ahram Online that the Commissioner's Authority of the High Administrative Court will recommend that the court reject the government appeal, in a report which has yet to be submitted to the court.
In April, Egypt's government signed an agreement to place both islands under Saudi Arabian sovereignty, saying that they had always belonged to the oil-rich Arab country and that Egypt had been merely administering them on behalf of the kingdom since the 1950s.
A number of lawyers, including rights lawyer Khaled Ali, then filed a lawsuit with Egypt's Administrative Court at the State Council, receiving in June a ruling that nullified the maritime deal between Cairo and Riyadh.
The government, represented by the State Lawsuits Authority, appealed June's verdict before an administrative court, the High Administrative Court as well as Supreme Constitutional Court, the country's highest court.
Early in November, an administrative court rejected the government's appeal against the June 2016 ruling, issuing a verdict on two separate motions by the government and the defence.
First, it rejected the government's request to suspend the execution of the June ruling.
Second, it accepted the defence's request to compel the state to execute the June verdict.
Later in November, the government submitted two appeals against the administrative court's decisions.
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 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.