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Ibrahim Halawa's trial suspended for 25th time - but could the next hearing be the last?

Halawa has been imprisoned in the Egyptian capital for 1,418 days – nearly four years.

90418644_90418644 Fatima Halawa, Ibrahim Halawa's sister, pictured on Grafton Street in May on her brother's 1,000th day in prison Source: Leah Farrell

THE TRIAL OF Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt has been suspended for a 25th time – but the Irish Government claims that progress is finally being made.

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.

However, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney this evening said that he believes the next trial hearing, set for this Sunday 9 July, may be the last as progress is finally being made.

“There has been further progress in the trial today with a number of further police witnesses called and cross-examined. The presiding judge has said that only five further witnesses will be called as part of the prosecution case, and that the prosecution case will be concluded at the next hearing, which is set for next Sunday, 9 July,” Coveney said.

A team of official Irish observers will again be present in court for that hearing. I welcome the indications that the trial is now progressing into its final stages.

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“Ibrahim’s harrowing ordeal continued with yet another adjournment, in a process that simply cannot meet the fair trial standards required under international law,” said Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, in reaction to the latest trial suspension.

Egypt’s continuing refusal to respect its obligations under both Egyptian and international human rights law cannot be tolerated.

Fears have been raised in recent months regarding the state of Halawa’s health, with the trial judge reportedly considering releasing the 21-year-old on medical grounds.

Last month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar suggested he was willing to consider a “different approach” to secure Halawa’s freedom.

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