By Federica Ibrahim
Hassouna Tawfiq, judge in the Administration Court, resigned Sunday from the usage of coal case presented by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).
The reason the judge cited was that he was not be able to make a proper decision in the case, which the defence team of the ECESR called “suspicious”, especially as this issue did not arise through the past three deliberation sessions.
In a statement the ECESR expressed its concern over possible pressures practised on the court which made the judge step down right before the verdict.
The ECESR assured that it would continue its case against coal usage in the energy sector in general and the cement industry in particular, urging the Administrative Court to seek the best interest for the Egyptian people rather than focusing on short term gains.
Despite the opposition of the Ministry of Environment, the interim government approved in April the use of coal in the industrial sector to address the country’s energy shortage. ECESR is leading a coalition of four NGOs that resist the government’s decision to approve the use an import of coal as a solution to the energy shortage crisis.
The four NGOs presented the appeal on 14 March against the cabinet’s decision. The Administrative Court heard the arguments of the defence that presented documents supporting its position and describing the “devastating effects” resulting from the use of coal to humans and environment in the previous sessions. The court was scheduled to issue a verdict on Sunday.