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Vol 57 No 14

Published 8th July 2016


Angry Sisi lashes judiciary

A ruling against the ceding of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia has prompted the President to sack senior judges

The latest episode in the Red Sea islands saga has seen a judge make a ruling in open defiance of President Abdel Fatah el Sisi. When El Sisi announced he was ceding sovereignty over the Gulf of Aqaba islands of Tiran and Sanafir last April, oppositionists found a cause to rally around and flood the streets of Cairo with protestors. The move came during the official visit of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, the Egyptian regime's major financial backer, and touched off a nationalist reaction which shocked and embarrassed the government. Hundreds were arrested in the first major demonstrations in downtown Cairo since the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in August 2013. A campaign to block the transfer of the uninhabited islands to Saudi Arabia – called 'Egypt is not for sale' – emerged, led by prominent lawyers including the charismatic human rights defender Khaled Ali, a major figure in the 2011 uprisings.

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