Al-Qorsaya (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights said on Thursday that the state court ordered defence minister General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to evacuate all military personnel from Cairo’s small island of Al-Qursaya.
The statement released by the Centre indicated that the ruling cancelled the presidential decree number 152 issued in 2001 by former president Hosni Mubarak. The decision granted the residents the right to stay on the island.
The presidential decree declared the confiscation of part of the island and gave it to the defence ministry as a “strategic area of military importance.”
Al-Qursaya Island residents, with support from human rights organisations, filed a number of cases against the military since 2007 and the court ruled in their favour. Yet, the military attempted to evict the residents on 8 November 2012, in accordance with the decree. The military chased residents out of the island, eventually arresting 28 that were later released. Many residents protested a number of times and blocked the streets demanding their release.
The contested land of Al-Qursaya Island is in the middle of the Nile in Greater Cairo.
Settlements in such agriculture land in Egypt are usually without documentation or legal papers, and some of these residents have lived in these areas for decades, as some analysts indicate.