Quorsaya residents file lawsuit against Morsi and defence minister

Ahram Online, Wednesday 23 Jan 2013

A number of Quorsaya Island residents and rights organizations file a lawsuit against Egypt's president Morsi and defence minister El-Sisi, criticizing the military spokesman's recent statement

Sissi and Morsi
Egyptian Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (Photo: AP)

Quorsaya Island residents and several rights organizations have released a joint statement on Wednesday announcing a lawsuit filed against "turning lands in the island into military sites."

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the State Council against President Mohamed Morsi and Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

According to the statement, the Quorsaya dispute dates back to 2007 when "the armed forces started military trainings on about 5 feddans of the island. The cabinet also did not allow residents to renew land rent contracts in an attempt to sell off lands to Egyptian businessmen."

The residents, as a result, won a court verdict in 2008 to cancel the cabinet's earlier decision. When the government appealed in 2010, the High Administrative Court ruled again in favour of the Quorsaya residents giving them right to the land.

Last November, however, the armed forces attempted to take control of the island's lands during which clashes erupted, killing two Quorsaya residents and injuring several. Now, 25 people are being tried in front of a military court.

In the statement, several organizations criticised the military spokesperson statements on the Quorsaya case and the ongoing dispute.

The organizations, including the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, Hesham Mubarak Law Centre, Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, and "Alive in Name Only," said on Wednesday that the armed forces are "deceiving the public" about the ongoing problem of the Quorsaya lands.

The statement said that the military spokesperson Mohamed Ahmed Ali ignored mentioning Mohamed Abd El-Mawgoud, who died by military fire when the armed forces attempted to take control of the land and evict the residents last November.

Furthermore, the organizations also said that Ali mentioned several wrong facts regarding the Quorsaya issue.

They stated that the population of the island is up to 1,500 people, while Ali recently said in a statement that there were only 90.

According to the statement, only eight non-residents of the island are being tried in the case of  last November's Quorsaya clashes, while Ali claimed that 21 non-residents were "paid to attack" the armed forces.

Ali also said the armed forces have the right to the land by obtaining a legal document from Egypt's Real Estate Register dated on 12 July, 2010.

However, this document refers to another dispute over property not related to Quorsaya, the groups further added. 

On 18 November, Egyptian army personnel stormed the island – located in Cairo's Giza governorate – in an attempt to clear it of local residents, claiming the land was military property. During the raid, 26 residents were arrested and subsequently referred to military trial.

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