Nile Island Residents, NGOs Appeal Against Egypt Army Land Grab

Lawyers and non-government organizations have filed an appeal against a decision to turn part of an island in Cairo into a military zone.

The appeal seeks to overturn the decision by President Mohamed Mursi and the Defense Ministry to make part of Qursaya Island on the Nile into a military zone of “strategic importance,” the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, one of the NGOs, said in a statement today.

Residents of the island clashed with security forces in November during an attempt at forced eviction, leaving one inhabitant dead. The military trial of 25 civilians from the island is due to resume next week.

The army argues the island’s residents are on military property, despite a 2010 court verdict overruling previous eviction orders and recognizing the inhabitants’ right to live and work on the island, Human Rights Watch said in November. The group estimated that it has about 2,000 inhabitants.

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