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Coveney 'very hopeful' Ibrahim Halawa could be home later this week

Coveney hopes Halawa will be released from prison later today.

Ibrahim Halawa is expected to be back in Ireland later this week.
Ibrahim Halawa is expected to be back in Ireland later this week.

FOREIGN MINISTER SIMON Coveney has said he hopes Ibrahim Halawa could be back home in Ireland by the middle of the week.

Halawa, an Irish citizen, was found innocent last Monday after spending four years in an Egyptian prison. The 21-year-old was arrested during a protest in 2013 in support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who had been ousted from power in a military coup.

Over the last four years, the hearing of his case was delayed 28 times.

Since his acquittal last week, Halawa has remained in prison. The delay in his release is due to a number of reasons, explained Coveney, who told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme that it is mainly due to being “unlucky in timing”.

The Muslim New Year, which marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year, began last Wednesday evening and lasted until yesterday.

During that time, Egypt has effectively been “shut down”, said Coveney, with no decisions on his release being made.

7429 Brexit Issues Simon Coveney_90520709 Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Coveney said the legal system is also different in Egypt, adding that once a court case is over the prosecution must inform the prison service to release Halawa to the Security Directorate.

“That letter has been drafted,” said Coveney, who stated that he hopes Halawa will be moved from the prison later today. After that, Halawa will be sent to the Security Directorate in Cairo, and then he must attend the police station where he was originally arrested.

“The rest will happen very quickly, we are told,” said Coveney, adding; “Hopefully that will happen as soon as later today.”

Coveney said he’s “very hopeful” that Halawa will be home by the middle of this week.

Read: Varadkar and Brian O’Driscoll to take part in Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup>

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