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Court Case Spotlight
Implications for Rights and Freedoms

Tiran and Sanafir Protest Case

Court / Presiding Judge

First Review: Montaza Misdemeanor Court
Second Review: Montaza Misdemeanor Appeals Court
Retrial (for three defendants sentenced in absentia): Montaza Misdemeanor Appeals Court

Procedural History

On December 31, 2017, the court issued its verdict upon first review. On January 13, 2018, the court issued its verdict upon second review. On April 7, 2018, the court issued its verdict in a retrial for three defendants initially sentenced in absentia.


Upon first review, rights lawyer Mahienour al-Massry and Bread and Freedom Party member Moatasem Medhat were sentenced to two years in prison. Three other defendants were sentenced to three years in absentia. Upon second review, Massry and Medhat were acquitted. In a retrial for the three defendants sentenced in absentia, all of the defendants were similarly acquitted.

Summary of Reasoning

This case dates back to a June 14, 2017, protest that took place in Alexandria against the ratification of the Tiran-Sanafir maritime border agreement in which Egypt ceded sovereignty of the islands to Saudi Arabia. The defendants faced charges of assembly, protesting without a permit, and insulting the president.

Anecdotal Notes

While no protesters were actually detained during the protest which gave rise to the case, the defendants in question found out they were being charged in the case belatedly. A number of other cases across the country similarly prosecuted individuals for protesting against the Tiran-Sanafir agreement.

Legal & Judicial Implications

The case raises questions regarding the rights of Egyptian citizens to peaceful assembly and expression. The case is just one example of the numerous prosecutions that occurred across the country against protesters who expressed opposition to the Tiran-Sanafir agreement and more broadly, personifies the trend of Egyptian authorities’ to silence all forms of opposition using the country’s problematic Protest Law and other provisions which violate Egypt’s domestic and international legal obligations.