Court suspends Red Sea islands appeal over judge recusal request

Sunday 26-06-2016 04:32 PM

Defence lawyer Khaled Ali presenting case documents in a press conference on Jun. 22, 2016. ASWATMASRIYA/ Ahmed Hamed

CAIRO, Jun 26 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court adjourned on Sunday an appeal case filed against a ruling that nullified a controversial Egyptian-Saudi border agreement pending a request filed to recuse the judge.

Egypt’s administrative court had annulled on Tuesday the Red Sea islands agreement signed in April during a visit by Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz to Cairo. The agreement stipulates that Egypt will transfer control over the two strategic Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

The agreement stirred controversy, with critics accusing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of "selling Egypt" to Saudi Arabia in return for aid.

Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in April in rare protests against the agreement, amid a police campaign of mass arrests of activists opposed to the two islands’ transfer.

The Supreme Administrative Court convened this morning to look into an appeal which had been filed by the government against the ruling that invalidated the agreement. But a request filed by the agreement's opponents to replace the judge prompted the court to adjourn the session, setting July 3 to rule on the request.

Mohamed Adel, a lawyer, filed the recusal request, saying he did this to "alleviate embarrassment from judicial authorities after recent attempts by the executive authority to interfere in their work."

The court cannot decide on the appeal against the ruling until the judge recusal request is processed.

Prominent human rights defender and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali congratulated Egyptians after Tuesday's verdict that annulled the agreement, expressing his gratitude to everyone who contributed to the case via his Facebook page.

Ali was among the lawyers who filed lawsuits in an attempt to nullify the agreement.

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