The lawyer opposing the Red Sea islands deal, Khaled Ali, on Saturday filed a lawsuit against the cabinet’s decision to approve the Egyptian-Saudi maritime demarcation agreement. The agreement would transfer sovereignty over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.
The cabinet will also forward the agreement to the parliament for final approval.
The lawyer filed the lawsuit against the prime minister, the speaker of the parliament, the president, the minister of defence, and the minister of foreign affairs.
The cabinet’s decision comes just weeks prior to the scheduled final ruling of the Administrative Court on 16 January over the government’s appeal against the nullification of the deal—a verdict that was issued earlier.
Malek Adly, a lawyer who initiated the Red Sea islands court case, saw the decision as a violation of the Constitution and the rule of law, adding that the government could face criminal charges if the parliament approves the demarcation deal prior to the court’s ruling.
Article 123 of the Penal Code punishes any public employee who defies a court ruling with imprisonment or expulsion from office.
Following the initial agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia a large number of political parties, lawyers, and activists expressed their outrage and rejection on social media platforms, asserting their belief that the islands are Egyptian.
Last week, member of parliament Mostafa Bakry demanded that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail address parliament on 2 January to clarify why there has been a delay in conveying the details of the islands agreement to the House of Representatives.
On 8 April, the government concluded the demarcation deal with Saudi Arabia during an official visit by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.