Eight acquitted of illegally protesting against parliament's discussions on Red Sea islands agreement

Ahram Online , Sunday 25 Feb 2018

File photo of a protest at the Journalists' Syndicate against the Egypt-Saudi Arabia Red Sea islands deal (Reuters)

Egypt's Qasr El-Nil Misdemeanour Court acquitted eight people, including three journalists, on charges of illegally protesting at downtown Cairo's Journalists' Syndicate headquarters against then-ongoing discussions in parliament over a Red Sea islands border agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Sunday's acquittal decision by the court comes following an order by the prosecution last June to release the eight defendants, posting EGP 10,000 bail.

The prosecution had charged the defendants of protesting without permit, disturbing the public order, gathering illegally, demonstrating force and obstructing traffic.

The eight were arrested in June 2017, one day after a number of journalists began a sit-in on the steps of the syndicate headquarteers in order to protest parliamentary debate of the maritime border demarcation deal, which has sparked several protests since it was inked between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in April 2016.

The agreement hands two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia.

It was ratified by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on June 24, 2017 following parliamentary approval of the agreement in the same month.

The agreement has faced a number of legal challenges by opponents and has led to disputes over which courts have jurisdiction to hear such cases.

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