August 29, 2016
Egyptian human rights lawyer Malek Adly was released from prison Sunday following a Saturday decision by an Egyptian court. Adly had been held in solitary confinement [AP report] for more than 100 days without a formal charge, and his incarceration was pinned on various administrative detention orders. Adly supporters claim that the lawyer’s prosecution was due to an interview [BBC backgrounder] in which he criticized an April decision by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi [BBC profile] to hand over two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.
Last year Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement [JURIST report] to improve stability and safety in the region, and Egypt gifted the two islands to Saudi Arabia as a symbol of good will. The agreement, entitled the “Cairo Declaration” and signed in Cairo by el-Sisi and Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to boost military and social ties in the region, as well as improve economic stability. However, in June a court in Cairo invalidated [JURIST report] the Egyptian president’s decision to give sovereignty over the two islands to Saudi Arabia. The relationship between the two countries has been improving since the ouster Islamist Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Saudi Arabia has in turn offered billions of dollars to aid Egypt in its joint bombing campaign with the Saudis against Yemen. The pact also sets out plans to build a new joint Arab military force to combat regional terrorism.