Today (January 23th,2013), Lawyers representing residents of Al-Qursayiah island in collaboration with several human rights organizations: Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights ECESR, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and Al-Nadeem Center,Al-Hilaly Center for Rights and Liberties; filed a lawsuit (no:21604/year 67 Judicial) before State Council against : President of the Republic,Ministry of Defense and others, contesting the decision to transform parts of the island into a military zone.
The petition was based upon the fact that the decision involved many legal violations which solicit overturning of the decision, starting with the fact that the decision maker is the Defense Minister who usurped powers not of his authority, as law no.7 for the year 1997 charted the legal process to allocate such areas in which the Defense minister role is limited to proposing the matter to the Ministerial Cabinet, and the decision is issued by the President after the Cabinet’s approval, in addition, the Defense Minister decision accounted the island as “ Desert territory” despite it being “ farmland” contrary to the legal definitions set by law no.100 for the year 1964, and law no.143 for the year 1981, and it contradicts the true nature of the island which is a bank side farmed land and a natural reserve according to an older decision issued by a previous Government.
Residents of Al-Qursayiah have gone through a legal struggle against the Egyptian government from mid-2007 till early 2010, which ended with a court verdict in favor of the residents, proving their rights in the land; the verdict mentioned the illegal role played by the Defense Ministry on the island, the High Administrative Court stated: “the case facts showed the government’s intent to use the Armed Forces to execute the Prime Minister’s decision to evacuate the island”.
The High Administrative Court in its ruling noted ” soldiers of the Armed Forces assailing the Island” and asserted that” the Ministry of Defense – and other administrative authorities – intervention acts in the island represent an unwarranted interference “.
Human Rights Organizations emphasize that the case is aimed to obtain a ” cease & desist” judicial order, and to overturn the Defense Minister decision to account the island land as a military zone of “strategic importance”, and cancel all consequent effects, especially the illegality of the Armed Forces presence or intervention in the island.