As the State Council ruled in favour of nullifying the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, many Egyptian activists, politicians, and intellectuals rejoice and praise the verdict.
George Ishak, member of the state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) described the verdict as “historical”, consequently demanding the immediate release of all detainees arrested for protesting against the border demarcation agreement.
“After all, it turns out they were right in their demands and claims that the islands should not be ceded to Saudi Arabia. I believe today’s ruling sends a message to the regime and explicitly calls for transparency and participation in the decision-making process,” Ishak told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday.
On a similar note, Medhat Zahed, a leading figure in the democratic current, said the ruling is considered a victory for all the nationalist forces in Egypt, the Egyptian people, and the State Council for having ensured that justice was served.
Zahed also deemed the verdict a success for rights defender and lawyer Malek Adly and all others imprisoned for protesting against the agreement and defending the Egyptian claim to the islands. He also urged the relevant authorities to take the necessary measures to release the detainees.
Adly, who is currently detained in solitary confinement, was one of the lawyers working on the Red Sea islands case.
His wife, Asmaa Aly, was extremely happy after the court’s verdict came in favour of her husband’s cause on Tuesday.
“The verdict is just delightful. Honestly, I did not expect it. I thought the case was going to take a long time. I appreciate all the effort done in this case, not only by the lawyers. It was the cause of all Egyptians. People showed a lot of interest when they volunteered to help the lawyers with documents,” Aly told Daily News Egypt.
Aly further stated she was going to visit Adly in jail on Wednesday.
“I know the news I am carrying will make things easier for him,” she said.
Dozens of activists and journalists have been detained for protesting the maritime demarcation agreement on 25 April – a day that coincided with Sinai Liberation Day.
Hundreds protested in front of the Press Syndicate, calling for the termination of the agreement between Egypt and its strong regional ally.
MP Samir Ghattas noted the importance of the Egypt-Saudi alliance saying, “We sincerely hope that this does not affect our strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and that the verdict is met positively on both sides.”
Ghattas described the agreement as a “potential threat to Egyptian national security and regional stability over all” and a “free pass for Israel”.
The State Lawsuits Authority (SLA) plans to appeal the State Council’s ruling on the case to the High Administrative Court on the grounds of the absence of the Administrative Court, since the agreement has not gone through parliament yet.
“Even if the government appeals the verdict, the initial ruling came out saying the islands were Egyptian and that is enough for us to pursue our cause,” Aly said.
Similarly, Ghattas told Daily News Egypt, “This appeal [by the SLA] does not change the will of the Egyptian people who have praised the verdict.”
“The first [verdict] was pronounced by the Egyptian people, who expressed their discontent over the decision as evidenced by a survey published by Baseera. The majority of Egyptians cling to maintaining sovereignty over the islands. The court verdict has reiterated that stance,” Ghattas said.