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Almost four years after arrest, Halawa's lawyers have been able to defend him in court

The 21-year-old Irishman has been held in Cairo for almost four years.

Image: Somaia Halawa via RollingNews.ie

ALMOST FOUR YEARS after being arrested and held in Egypt, Ibrahim Halawa has finally been able to defend himself in court.

His lawyers presented a defence at his trial today – just two weeks short of the fourth anniversary of his arrest in Cairo.

The 21-year-old Irish citizen was arrested at an August 2013 protest in support of Mohamed Morsi who had been ousted from power in a military coup.

His trial had suffered repeated delays as Egyptian authorities sought to try Halawa in a mass trial involving close to 500 defendants but progress has been made in recent court appearances.

Halawa’s case has been delayed 28 times, this was the first time Halawa has been able to defend himself in court.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney has issued a statement saying:

“It has taken a long time to get here, but I welcome the fact that we have finally arrived at the point where Halawa and his lawyers have had an opportunity to give his side of the story and to put forward legal argument in his defence.”

Almost 500 other defendants in the mass trial must also have their defence heard before verdicts are reached.

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Coveney said this will mean that “it may still be some time before we know the outcome of this protracted trial process for Ibrahim Halawa”, but he added:

However, there is no doubt that the end of this ordeal now appears closer than it has done at any point during the past four years.

The defence arguments related to other defendants are expected to take place over the coming days.

Coveney said Halawa is represented by a very well-respected and highly regarded Egyptian legal team.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Egypt, Damien Cole, and a team of observers from the Irish Embassy were in court to monitor the proceedings and to report back to the Irish government on today’s developments.

Read: Prosecution ‘closes case’ in trial of Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt>

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