The administrative court at the State Council will hold on Tuesday the first session for the lawsuit against the Egyptian-Saudi maritime demarcation agreement which saw sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir islands transferred to the Gulf kingdom.
Public mandates have been made for prominent rights lawyers Khaled Ali, Tarek Al-Awady, and Malek Adly to represent the plaintiffs to contest the agreement, which the state signed in April during the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to Egypt.
The agreement garnered public anger that was echoed in nationwide demonstrations in April in which protesters argued President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had “sold the islands”. Following the first series of protests on 15 April, protests planned for 25 April were met with a strict security clampdown and random arrests. This week, 152 were sentenced to prison for unlicensed protesting as a result of the arrests.
Al-Sisi made a public speech on 13 April in which he called on Egyptians, including media outlets, to not discuss the case again, arguing that the whole matter is now in the hands of parliament, which will in turn discuss the agreement and has the freedom to approve or refuse it.
However, this did not put the case to rest, as public figures from the varied political spectrum weighed in with opinions and historic documents supporting the case of Egyptian sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir. The latest of them was former minister Mounir Abdel Nour, who served as minister of tourism and then trade between 2011-2012 and 2013-2015, respectively, and also political adviser to interim president Adly Mansour, Mostafa Hegazy.
One of the lawyers who advocated for the case of Egyptian sovereignty over the islands and has been given mandates to file the lawsuit, Malek Adly was arrested on 5 May and was charged with attempting to overthrow the regime, spreading false rumours, and inciting demonstrations among other charges.
Adly has been prevented visits by lawyers and family since his arrest, according to Khaled Ali and his wife Asmaa Ali.
“As expected, today myself and Amr Imam, one of Malek’s lawyers, were denied from visiting Malek and even from delivering clothes or food to him,” said his wife, as she further explained that Adly is denied all visits until his next prosecution session on Wednesday.
Ali, following her husband’s arrest, has been calling via social media for people who mandated her husband and fellow lawyers to file the lawsuit contesting the demarcation agreement to show up in support of the case at the State Council headquarters.
The same call was made by the 6 April opposition movement, for people to show support by “attending the session or by posting photos of mandates to social media or by raising the Egyptian flag in streets, on cars, from balconies, or on clothes”.