Egyptian Court delays Red sea islands case to review evidence submitted by govt

An Egyptian administrative court adjourned on Thursday 12 cases brought against the controversial Egyptian-Saudi island deal to look at documents submitted by the government to support its case, a judicial source said.

One of the suits filed against the deal, which puts the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir – long believed to be to be Egyptian – in Saudi waters, should have been referred to parliament and then put to a public referendum in accordance with the Egyptian constitution

In June, an administrative court annulled the maritime border accord and said the two islands “remain Egyptian,” although the government has appealed the verdict.

The case that prompted the ruling was filed by rights lawyer Khaled Ali, who presented evidence including a 1917 book, a 1914 map and a 1940 Cambridge University atlas, all referring to the two islands as Egyptian.

The court said on Thursday that the cases have been adjourned so it can look at new documents submitted by the government, including a copy of the agreement text, the judicial source said.

Egypt’s decision to transfer the two strategic islands at the southern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba into Saudi hands sparked widespread public outcry in the country, with some critics accusing the government of “selling” the islands.

Dozens of people have been arrested and put on trial for protesting the deal, though many have since been released.

The Egyptian government is arguing that the islands have always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Egypt has merely been administering them on behalf of the Saudis since the 1950s.

source: Ahram Online

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