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"Confusion and chaos" reign as Irish politicians struggle to attend trial of Ibrahim Halawa

The teenager is facing another hearing on Sunday.

ibrahim-halawa-6

Updated 19.50

A FIANNA FÁIL senator claims there is “confusion and chaos” between the Irish and Egyptian embassies regarding his attendance at the trial of Ibrahim Halawa in Cairo next Sunday.

Kerry senator Mark Daly claims that upon his request to attend the trial the Egyptian embassy in Dublin told him that “requesting a visit to the prison or attending the court hearing should be done by your Embassy in Cairo to the competent authorities in Egypt”.

When he did so the Irish embassy in Cairo told him to contact the Egyptian Ambassador in Dublin.

“The confusion over trying to gain access to the trial and Ibrahim in jail is very concerning and this follows on from confusion over incorrect reports of the murder charges facing Ibrahim being reduced,” Daly said this afternoon.

Daly claims that the Irish government needs to “follow the example of the Australian government and ask for Ibrahim’s release by Presidential decree”.

1/7/2015. Halawa Sisters Senator Mark Daly with Ibrahim Halawa's sisters outside Leinster House earlier in July Source: Rollingnews.ie

The case he refers to is that of Peter Greste, a Latvian-Australian journalist who was freed from captivity in Egypt in February after 400 days in prison there.

“On the date of the trial Ibrahim will have spent 715 days in jail and the Irish Government needs to do more,” said Daly.

Daly is not the only Oireachtas member planning to be in Cairo this Sunday.

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has announced that she plans to be in Egypt, and to attend the trial “if possible”.

Earlier, TD for West Clare Pat Breen was granted approval to travel to Egypt to visit Halawa in prison after initial plans for a delegation to make the trip were rejected.

Arrangements are now being made for Breen, chair of the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee, to visit the teenager.

Halawa’s case was again postponed in June, and his next court date is this coming Sunday when he will be tried along with 494 other defendants.

The 19-year-old from Tallaght has been held in Egypt for more than 700 days after he was arrested during a protest at a mosque in Cairo in 2013.

25/3/2013 Irelands Presidency Of The European Union Pat Breen Source: Sam Boa/RollingNews.ie

Breen told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland:

We’re hearing stories from his legal team in Cairo, the charges that he will face are probably lesser charges than the serious charges mentioned at first.

“The situation there is very fragile.”

The TD said the Department of Foreign Affairs is working with Egyptian authorities to arrange for Breen to travel to Egypt, where he will be allowed to meet with Halawa once accompanied by an official.

He added that Egyptian authorities are “anxious” for the meeting to take place, as well as bilateral meetings.

Additional Reporting Cianan Brennan

Read: Halawa sisters say they’ve been blocked by Charlie Flanagan on Twitter >

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