ECESR publishes book documenting Tiran and Sanafir case

Wednesday 25-01-2017 02:00 PM

Lawyer Khaled Ali during a previous court session in the islands case. ASWATMASRIYA/ Mohamed el Ra'y

CAIRO, Jan 25 (Aswat Masriya) - The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) published Tuesday its book documenting the Tiran and Sanafir islands dispute case in coordination with the Beirut-based NGO Legal Agenda.

ECESR lawyer Khaled Ali and a team of other lawyers filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court disputing the validity of the maritime border demarcation agreement signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in April. The agreement stipulated the transfer of Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

On Jan. 16, Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir fall under Egyptian sovereignty, thereby nullifying the agreement after successive court rulings and appeals made by the government against those rulings.

Before the Supreme Court ruling, Egypt’s cabinet approved late in December the border demarcation agreement and referred it to the parliament for ratification despite being contested in court; a move that was criticised by the defense team and met by outcry from some Egyptians who opted for protest at the press syndicate.

The book includes legal documents related to the case as well as the rulings and reports of the Administrative Court and the Supreme Administrative Court and Khaled Ali's legal defence.

ECESR will also publish sequels to the book, covering the entire stages of the case.

"Documenting this case surpasses professional objectives, it is more about a great legal battle wherein the Egyptian civil society along with political and social forces realised a victory that cannot be dealt with lightly," the statement read.

In the preamble, Nezar Saghya from the Legal Agenda wrote, "at a time when the executive authority had its grip on everything, all led to the belief of the end of law."

"The Egyptian defenders, however, managed to prove to us once again that cases that matter to the people could be championed through the courts," he continued.

The Tiran and Sanafir dispute has been followed with much interest by local and international observers. 

The two islands are strategically significant as they both control maritime activity in the Gulf.

Tiran Island is located in the Gulf of al-Aqaba, about 5 or 6 km from the Sinai Peninsula, and it has a total area of about 80 square km. Sanafir Island lies to the east of Tiran with a total area of 33 square km.

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