The Court for Urgent Matters issued a decision on Wednesday to halt implementation of an administrative court ruling that annulled the Egyptian-Saudi Arabian maritime border agreement under which Tiran and Sanafir islands had been transferred to the Gulf country.
Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) lawyer Mostafa Gharib told Mada Masr that the investigating judge did not hold a hearing to issue the verdict, nor did he allow media to enter the courtroom to pose questions concerning his decision.
However, Gharib was able to gain entrance to the courthouse and confirmed that the judge granted the government’s appeal of the previous verdict.
An administrative court invalidated the Tiran and Sanafir islands deal in June, declaring that the islands would remain under Egyptian sovereignty.
Human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, along with several other lawyers, built an initial appeal of the island deal based on maritime maps, historical records, legal resolutions and Article 1 of the Egyptian Constitution, which states that, “The Arab Republic of Egypt is a sovereign state, united and indivisible, of which no part shall be conceded.”
Immediately after the June administrative court ruling, the government filed an appeal, plunging the case into legal limbo and preventing the implementation of the decision.
Ali Ayoub, one of the lawyers involved in the case, told Bloomberg that he would challenge today’s ruling, calling it “politically motivated.”
ECESR lawyers previously told Mada Masr that the state ignored the evidence they had submitted in the case. ECESR lawyer Mohamed Adel Soliman also contended that the case has been tainted by a conflict of interest, as Investigating Judge Fawzy Abdel Rady serves as an advisor to the Foreign Ministry.
The sovereignty transfer sparked nationwide protests when it was announced in April, with many portraying it as a decision by the Egyptian government to sell land to Saudi Arabia in return for a 5-year petroleum supply deal, among other forms of Saudi investment.
Over 1,000 people were arrested between April 15 and 27 in connection with protests against the transfer of the islands, which have been under Egyptian control for over 60 years.