Egypt’s High Administrative Court accepted Saturday a recusal request of the panel reviewing a government appeal against a ruling asseting Egyptian sovereignty over two Red Sea islands.
In April, Egypt’s government agreed to transfer the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, saying they had always belonged to the Gulf country.
However, an Egyptian court voided the move in June, ruling that the islands belong to Egypt, a decision that has been appealed by the government.
The decision to transfer the two strategic islands at the southern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi hands sparked widespread public outcry in the country.
Dozens of people were arrested and put on trial for protesting the deal, though many have since been released after paying hefty fines.
Lawyer Khaled Ali, who filed the recusal request, cited alleged interference of the executive authority with the judiciary.
His request stated that Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Magdy Al-Agaty called on the court overseeing the appeal to “accept the appeal within a week.”
Ali said that Al-Agaty is a former judge who previously worked in the same court and thus could influence its ruling.
The Egyptian government has repeatedly said that the islands have always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Egypt was merely administering them on behalf of the Saudis since the 1950s.
Source: Ahram Online