Jameela Abougnah at a vigil for Ibrahim Halawa outside Leinster House.

Ibrahim Halawa's trial judge is considering releasing him on medical grounds

The trial was delayed for the 21st time today.

IBRAHIM HALAWA’S TRIAL has been delayed for the 21st time in Cairo as the judge in the case agreed to consider his release on medical grounds.

The latest delay means that Halawa has now spent 44 months in prison without being given a hearing on the charges he faces.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said Irish officials in court have reported that the judge is to consider the release of the 21-year-old Dubliner.

“Our embassy officials were present in court to observe proceedings as they have been at each and every hearing of the case to date. And indeed before coming to this chamber I received a report on the proceedings,” Flanagan said.

“Some progress was made today as 11 more witnesses were called to give evidence, which they did.”

Furthermore, at the end of today’s hearing Ibrahim Halawa’s lawyers requested his release on medical grounds and the judge undertook to consider that application.

Following reports that Halawa’s health has deteriorated sharply and that he had been using a wheelchair, the Irish government arranged for a doctor to visit him in prison.

Exact details of his condition were not released by the government due to privacy concerns but they led to the doctor seeking his release on medical grounds.

PastedImage-92839 Minister Charlie Flanagan taking questions in the Dáil today.

‘Extremely ill’

The minister was being questioned on the Halawa case in the Dáil today by deputies Darragh O’Brien and Bríd Smith with the latter questioning the government’s priorities in its dealings with Egypt.

Smith said that the Irish government should cease contributing to an EU fund for Egypt while Halawa remains in prison. She also questioned a recent agreement that saw Ireland return to selling beef to Egypt.

“The 21st trial is happening today, he’s extremely ill, we’re giving money and we’re promoting a beef trade that we restarted after you visited Egypt,” Smith said.

For the first time in 17 years we are beginning to export live beef again to Egypt. It’s worth about 40 million to start with, we hope it will go up to 200 million. Is the export of that beef more important than that young man’s life?

Amnesty International, which says it has seen the video evidence in the case which shows no evidence against Halawa, labelled the latest trial delay as “farcical”.

“It is beyond farcical that Ibrahim Halawa has now endured 21 delays in his trial, spending 1,327 days imprisoned in Egypt. Amnesty researchers on the ground at the time of his arrest confirm that Ibrahim was sheltering in the al-Fath mosque and could not have committed the violent crimes he has been charged with,” said Fiona Crowley of Amnesty International Ireland.

Read: ‘His life is on the line’: Vigil held in support of Ibrahim Halawa ahead of 21st trial date tomorrow >

Read: Former Egyptian president who was ousted in the Arab Spring gets out of jail >

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