Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is facing calls to prosecute him for “high treason” following Egypt’s High Administrative Court’s ruling against the government over the proposed transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia.
In this context, four Egyptian citizens filed four lawsuits against Abdel Fattah al-Sisi accusing him of “high treason” in the light of the high administrative court’s ruling that ensured that the two islands are Egyptian and thus, nullified the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
In the beginning, lawyer Tamer Seif, a member of the freedom committee at the lawyers syndicate, declared that he has filed a lawsuit to the public prosecutor Nabil Sadek against both Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.
In press statements, Seif said,”According to the administrative court ruling and upon the requests of many citizens, I filed a lawsuit to the public prosecutor against the president and the prime minister to investigate them about signing a maritime border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia.”
In the same context, lawyer Shamel Selim Mohamed filed another lawsuit to the public prosecutor accusing Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of “high treason” and all who assisted him in violating the constitution by giving away part of the nation’s land … and insisting on accomplishing the procedures despite a final ruling that nullified the agreement.”
This week, the Egyptian High Administrative Court rejected an appeal by the government against a lower court’s decision to stop it handing over Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.
Cheers erupted as the judge delivered the verdict, saying the government had failed to provide evidence that the islands were originally Saudi.
The two Red Sea islands, which are strategically significant as they both control maritime activity in the Gulf, are located at the Gulf of Aqaba. The 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.
The transfer deal, signed last April, sparked rare protests in Egypt.
Tiran and Sanafir are uninhabited except for Egyptian troops and multi-national peacekeepers.
Al-Sisi said the islands have always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Riyadh asked Egypt to station troops there in 1950 to protect them.
But al-Sisi was accused of violating the constitution and “selling” the islands in return for a multi-billion dollar aid package announced during a visit to Cairo by King Salman.
Saudi Arabia has backed Al-Sisi financially since he led the military’s overthrow of his Islamist predecessor, Mohammed Morsi, in 2013.
Uproar at the maritime border demarcation accord prompted protests across Egypt at which hundreds people were detained, according to human rights activists.
A group of lawyers, including former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, also challenged the agreement at an administrative court.
Mr. Ali argued that a 1906 maritime treaty between Egypt and the Ottoman Empire stated that the islands were Egyptian. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not established until 1932.
In June, the court nullified the border accord, ruling that Egyptian sovereignty over the islands held and could not be amended in favor of another state.
The government subsequently lodged an appeal with the High Administrative Court. It is part of the State Council, a judicial body that gives legal advice to the government, drafts legislation, and exercises jurisdiction over administrative cases.
Last Monday, the High Administrative Court said it was the “unanimous” decision of its judges that Tiran and Sanafir were sovereign Egyptian territories.
Lawyers and activists celebrated and chanted: “These islands are Egyptian.”
“This verdict is a victory for Egypt,” Mr. Ali, who was carried out of the court building on the shoulders of his supporters, said.