Egypt: top court halts Red Sea islands transfer
Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court has temporarily halted decisions regarding a deal to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia until it can establish who has jurisdiction over them. The Egyptian government agreed to transfer the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, in April 2016, based on the belief that they had always belonged to Saudi Arabia. In June 2016 the transfer was invalidated by a lower court in Cairo, but that decision was overturned by another court. Egypt's parliament last week agreed to go through with the plan despite public protests. Both the Egyptian and Saudi governments say the islands, which have been under Egyptian protection since 1950, are Saudi territory. The protesters, however, assert that Egypt's sovereignty over the islands was established before Saudi Arabia was founded.
From Jurist, June 21. Used with permission.
Note: The demonstrations over the islands were a rare display of public defiance to harsh security measures and controversial anti-protest law. Last week, police occupied Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square to prevent protesters from gathering there. (Reuters, June 16)