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Halawa trial adjourned for 26th time, but Coveney happy at 'progress'

Defence lawyers asked for more time and an opportunity to challenge video evidence.

Fatima Halawa, Ibrahim Halawa's sister, pictured on Grafton Street in May 2016  on her brother's 1,000th day in prison.
Fatima Halawa, Ibrahim Halawa's sister, pictured on Grafton Street in May 2016 on her brother's 1,000th day in prison.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE TRIAL OF Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa in Cairo has been adjourned for a 26th time as the last of the prosecution witnesses were called.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the “progress” in the case, which has seen Halawa in prison since August 2013.

Halawa has been imprisoned in Cairo for nearly four years. He was just 17 years old when he was first detained during Muslim Brotherhood protests in the Egyptian capital in August 2013.

The Egyptian legal process has seen Halawa stand trial with nearly 500 other defendants – the absence of some of which (due to sickness and other reasons) has been a repeated reason for the repeat suspensions and the drawn out nature of the action.

The case was adjourned today when defence lawyers representing some of the defendants in this mass trial asked for more time and an opportunity to challenge video evidence presented by the prosecution.

Earlier this year, the judge referred audio-video evidence to a Technical Committee for further examination.  Their report, seen by Amnesty International, suggests that out of the at least 330 defendants currently detained in the case, there is only information relating to two defendants. It does not even mention Ibrahim Halawa.

The next hearing, scheduled for July 16, will be spent examining this video evidence.

In a statement, Coveney said:

“Ensuring Ibrahim Halawa’s return to his home and family in Ireland is an absolute priority for me as Minister for Foreign Affairs and I am determined to do everything I can to make that happen.

“The presiding judge made clear his determination to move the trial forward quickly and indicated that the defendants and their lawyers, including Ibrahim and his Egyptian legal team, will have their opportunity to put forward their case before the panel of judges in the coming weeks.”

He said that the government will continue to sent observers to Egypt.

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