The Urgent Affairs court issued a verdict Thursday halting the execution of a previous verdict by the State Council in which the latter had nullified the maritime border agreement signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in April, also known as the Red Sea islands deal.
This means that the court’s decision supports the implementation of the deal, after accepting an appeal filed by government lawyers against the initial nullification verdict.
The case raised public controversy with many Egyptians rejecting the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands’ sovereignty to Saudi Arabia. In June, the State Council nullified the agreement but the government challenged the verdict before different courts.
Lawyer Khaled Ali, who had filed the lawsuit demanding the abolition of the deal, commented Thursday that the Urgent Affairs court has violated the Constitution by interfering with issues that should be in the hands of the State Council.
“On Saturday, we will take legal measures in order to cancel this latest verdict, which is an assault on the authority of the State Council,” Ali posted on Facebook.
The constitutional article Ali referred to is Article 190 which stipulates: “the State Council is an autonomous judicial body, and it shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to settle administrative disputes and disputes relevant to the execution of all its rulings. It shall have jurisdiction over disciplinary suits and appeals, and the exclusive jurisdiction to provide advice regarding legal issues to the administrative bodies determined by the law.”
The agreement pushed dozens to stage two protests in April across Egypt’s governorates.