CAIRO: The State Council decided Monday to refer the lawsuit against the building of the Gaza underground barrier to the State Case Authority before rescheduling the next session for Sept. 21.
A verdict on the lawsuit, filed by former diplomat Ibrahim Yousri, was expected on Monday’s session but instead the State Council’s Administrative Court decided to refer the case to the State Case Authority for a legal opinion.
According to Yousri, this was a highly unusual move by the court, especially as he had filed the case under the urgent appellate process.
“I’m surprised because this is an unusual procedure,” he told Daily News Egypt, “It is an urgent case and in this way they’ve cancelled the urgency of the lawsuit.”
Yousri attributed this to “the court’s fear of passing a verdict in the case, because we have the law on our side.”
Along with a group of lawyers and activists, Yousri filed a suit against the underground barrier currently under construction by Egypt along the border with Gaza. In it they argue that the wall tightens the siege on the Gaza Strip which has been under a blockade since June 2007.
They are also calling for the reopening of the Rafah border crossing, the only entryway into Gaza that is not under direct Israeli control.
The State Judicial Authority, which represents the government in the suit, argued that building the barrier was a question of Egyptian sovereignty and national security aimed at stemming the flow of smuggling through underground tunnels on the border between Gaza and Egypt.
Yousri dismissed this argument as merely an excuse to build the wall, adding that Egypt is not allowed to have a viable military presence on the border with Israel. He said that building the wall was a crime against humanity.
Construction on the underground barrier — dubbed by its detractors as the “wall of shame” — began late last year, but Egypt only publicly admitted to building it after pressure from the media.