In a rare display of rebellion against the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, a Cairo court voted to annul his decision to transfer sovereignty of two islands to Saudi Arabia.
Judge Yehia el-Dakroury declared that Egypt’s maritime border would not be redrawn, meaning that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir would remain under Egyptian sovereignty.
Sisi previously awarded the two islands to Saudi Arabia in a highly controversial deal during a visit to Egypt by King Salman, which also coincided with the signing of oil deals and development packages from the Gulf kingdom.
The deal was designed to coincide with a bridge joining Saudi Arabia to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Tuesday’s decision was met with cheers inside the courtroom and celebration on the steps of the courthouse, even as Egypt’s government declared its intention to appeal against the decision within hours of the verdict.