This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019
Advertisement

Charlie Flanagan 'disappointed' witnesses fail to appear at Ibrahim Halawa hearing

Now aged 21, Halawa has spent almost four years in jail.

Ibrahim Halawa turned 21 last December. Pictured is his sister Somaia.
Ibrahim Halawa turned 21 last December. Pictured is his sister Somaia.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

Updated 7.50pm

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Charlie Flanagan has expressed his disappointment that a number of witnesses failed to appear to give evidence at the latest hearing in Ibrahim Halawa’s trial in Egypt.

Now aged 21, Halawa has spent almost four years in jail and the Irish government has said it has stepped up its diplomatic efforts in recent times to secure his release.

The next trial date is set for Tuesday, 4 July.

Flanagan said officials from the Irish Embassy in Cairo were in court again today for the latest hearing.

“I was disappointed to note that a number of witnesses who had failed to appear and give evidence at last week’s hearing once again failed to appear in the court today.

However, I note that, in line with the presiding judge’s decision to take steps to speed up the trial process, lawyers submitted today a list of 18 priority witnesses who will be called for the next hearing. Our understanding is that no further witnesses beyond this list of 18 will be called by the prosecution side.

“In line with usual practice in Egypt, the court will not convene during the coming holy month of Ramadan. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 4.

“The government is continuing to give the highest priority attention to this consular case.”

Allegations

However, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said: “Today’s delay shows that there is nothing positive about the judicial system in Egypt.

“We now have a situation where Ibrahim will spend another six weeks in prison despite allegations of sexual assaults and despite an Irish doctor calling for his immediate release on health grounds.”

Amnesty International issued a statement saying: “Today’s hearing went ahead but witnesses who were called failed to appear.

The court today agreed on a list of 18 witnesses who will be called at the next hearing which is scheduled for 4 July 2017. It is not envisaged that any further witnesses will be called by the prosecution when their testimony is completed.

Protest

Halawa was arrested in Cairo in August 2013 after he was arrested at a protest in support of Mohamed Morsi who had been ousted from power in a military coup.

Former President Morsi had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and was democratically voted into the presidency.

He was ousted from the presidency by the Egyptian military in July 2013.

Protests against the military coup were put down by the army and at least 817 people were massacred in one incident on 14 August 2013.

Omaima, Fatima, Soumaya and Ibrahim Halawa were all arrested at the protest three days after the massacre on 17 August.

Although his siblings were released, Ibrahim has been jailed without trial for the 45 months since.

Egyptian authorities have persisted in putting Halawa on trial with 494 other defendants in a mass trial that observers have said has contributed to the repeated delays in the process.

A protest against Halawa’s continued detention was held today outside the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin. It was attended by a number of politicians as well as a number of unions and the Halawa family.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

Read: ‘It wasn’t political’ – Fatima Halawa explains why their family attended the protest in Egypt >

Read: Ibrahim Halawa’s trial judge is considering releasing him on medical grounds >

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

Read next:

COMMENTS (153)