Egypt Independent

Court clears lawyers from ‘disseminating false information on Red Sea islands’

Egypt court on Saturday acquitted 12 lawyers from charges of disseminating false information that the "Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian land".
The lawyers had staged a protest at Shibin el-Qanater Court to reject the maritime border demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed in April 2016.
The prosecution office in Qalyubia Governorate had referred the lawyers to trial before Shibin el-Qanater misdemeanors court.
Defense lawyer for the defendants Sameh Ashour, who is the chairman of Egypt's Bar Association, said that the recent court rulings on the Islands proves that the lawyers' protest last April did not in fact disseminate any false information.
Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court nullified last month an agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia that would have transferred the two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi waters.
According to the border demarcation agreement signed in April, the two islands were deemed to be within Saudi territorial waters, in recognition of historical claims on the part of Saudi Arabia.
The Supreme Administrative Court ruling turned down the government's appeal against a verdict issued in June, which had reached the same conclusion. 
The Administrative Court (first degree court) had nullified the agreement in two different hearings in June and November on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for the Saudi claims. 
The agreement provoked extensive criticism against the government in April, with people taking to the streets in protest against the decision, which was then followed by a security crackdown.