Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tiran and Sanafir isles : Back to the courts fight "Updated"

The Egyptian two red sea islands are back to the court on Sunday in Cairo as the Urgent matters said the Egypt's Supreme administrative court had no jurisdiction over the decision to hand Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia in a new episode of the Isles saga.

The urgent court's verdict does not say whether the isles are Egyptian or Saudi but it says that the Supreme Administrative court has no jurisdiction over the whole matter.
President Sisi and King Salman at the Dead sea last week
Thus, it annuals accordingly the Supreme Administration Court's final Non-appealable verdict in January rejecting the government's appeal and upholding the original verdict to annual the Egyptian Saudi demarcation deal.
In case you forget from a year ago , in April 2016 the Egyptian and Saudi governments announced a new maritime demarcation deal, by which places the strategic Tiran and Sanafir Red Sea island under Saudi sovereignty.
In last December and against the court orders and public rejections, the Egyptian government sent the agreement to the Parliament to approve it.
In January, the Supreme administrative court issued its historical verdict annulling the agreement.
Despite the court orders, the government or rather the regime is insisting on going forward with the deal and decided to challenge the verdict in front of the court of urgent matter as well the Supreme Constitutional court directly and indirectly.

What do I mean about "indirectly"?
Well, I mean lawsuits filed by concerned citizens against the Supreme Administrative Court's verdict  with no direct relation to the government just like our case here.
Suddenly, we found "concerned citizen" and lawyer Ashraf Farahat filling a lawsuit in front of Cairo Urgent Matters court claiming that the Supreme Administrative court has no jurisdiction over the Islands case.
Already it is a known game for the government since the time of Mubarak and his National Democratic Party "NDP", if the administrative court annuls the results of parliamentary elections, a concerned citizen goes to the court of urgent matters to stop this verdict.
Do not ask about the legality or constitutionality of this because the law and the constitution are the last things to be respected in this matter.

Now, there is huge ...let's be polite and say misunderstanding here because all lawyers as well the judges and legal experts say that anyone read a book of law and courts in Egypt knows very well that the court of Urgent court has no jurisdiction whether legally or constitutionally over the Supreme Administrative court especially it is a supreme court.
The lawyers and judges who spoke only say that the Urgent matters court's verdict should be totally ignored because it is void.

This what I have heard from lawyers involved in the original Tiran and Sanafir case.
Here is Khaled Ali from the original team of lawyers that sued the Egyptian state over the islands speaking about Sunday's verdict.

A summary of what he said in the long post
The Urgent matters court's verdict does not represent any danger constitutionally or legally on Tiran and Sanafir islands because they are beyond its jurisdiction legally even if will issue 100 verdicts. Yet the danger for real is sending the agreement to the of Representatives where it will be approved. This will help Saudi Arabia in winning the international arbitration as it has the approval of the executive and legislative  authorities; the thing that will make its position internationally. Do not pay attention to urgent matter court's verdict as all the attempts to pass the agreement in the House of Representatives as well the attempts of the regime to ignore the supreme administrative court.
This is what I fear of. After this urgent matters court's verdict, the House of Representatives will pass the demarcation agreement very soon claiming that they are not breaking the law or the Constitution.

On Monday, Khaled Ali and his team declared that he filed a lawsuit at the Administrative Court to stop the verdict of the Urgent Matters Court. On Tuesday, he announced the Administrative court set 18 April to look in to his appeal against the urgent Matter courts. 
Now this is fast as it usually takes more time to set the date but let's say for real that the Administrative court is really angry.

Not only this court ruling comes days after the meeting between Sisi and Salman in Jordan but it also comes amidst a big fight between the state and judiciary over the Judicial authorities draft law as well a fight within judicial authorities themselves over jurisdiction.
The House of Representatives already approved the controversial draft law last week and since then the Judges club as well State council club are extremely angry and their boards are meeting in order to see how they escalate the matter.
Unlike 2005, the Judges club seems unwilling to clash with the regime at the current moment and proposed a meeting between its head and President El-Sisi after his return from the States.

Back to Cairo and the isles.
When the court of urgent matters was founded in the time of Mubarak, it was made reportedly to overcome the slowness of judiciary and courts in urgent matters like for instance stopping an eviction order for instance but not to speak about a national sovereignty matter.
Anyhow it seems that the regime is really in a hurry to seal the deal with Saudi Arabia after that meeting between Sisi and Salman in the Dead Sea Summit last week.
The meeting comes after some gestures of good willing showed from both sides, like for instance the Saudi Aramco's decision to restore oil exports to Egypt in March.

Ironically, the fact that such court's verdict came right after the meeting enforced that impression in the gulf that the Egyptian judiciary is not independent and that all what El-Sisi's regime really or unfortunately the Egyptians are money.
Just look at the Dubai-based CNN Arabic tweet about the news:
"After days following the meeting between Sisi and King Salman, a court ruling returns Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia !!"
Egypt is not small and Egyptians are not cheap. I have been scrolling down the "#Tiran_and_Sanafir_are_Saudi" which has been worldwide trending and I felt so angry on how Egypt and Egyptians are being insulted in that hashtag.

There is a Question in mind now: Does this deal worth bringing down judiciary like that ??
The Saga goes on. Next episode at the Supreme Constitutional court if the parliament does not pass over the isles to the Kingdom by next week !!! 

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