Judge in ECESR coal case withdraws, ECESR fears ‘state pressure’
The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) - YOUM7/Amr Moustafa

CAIRO: The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) said in a Sunday statement it fears “pressure” was exerted on the judge deliberating its lawsuit against the use of coal as fuel in Egypt’s power generation, as he withdrew from the case during the session in which he was supposed to schedule a ruling.

The ECESR filed the lawsuit on March 14 against a Cabinet decree to import and use coal for power generation, and three court sessions have since been conducted without a ruling, the statement said.

“ECESR’s battle against the decision to use coal and other destructive pollutants is ongoing, and its campaign with its partners from civil society and environmental experts, doctors and all those concerned is still ongoing despite all pressure,” the statement added.

ECESR lawyers submitted documents and research they said documented devastating effects of coal on the environment and public health, the statement said. It also called on the Court of Administrative Judiciary deliberating the case to make the “optimal decision” against all “short-sighted policies” that overlook harmful effects in the long run.

Despite the opposition of Environment Minister Laila Rashed Iskander, the Cabinet decided to allow coal to be used as part of the energy system on April 2.

The Cabinet’s decision received vigorous criticism from citizens, activists and experts, but the government cited the fuel crisis and said coal would mainly be used at cement factories.

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