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Image: Fatima Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa is back in jail as trial is delayed again

The Irish citizen has been in prison in Cairo since August 2013.
Dec 15th 2015, 1:13 PM 15,227 215

THE TRIAL OF Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa has been postponed yet again.

Halawa was born in Ireland to Egyptian parents. Last Sunday marked his 20th birthday – his third in jail.

He has been held at various prisons in Cairo since August 2013 over his participation in a demonstration at the height of the country’s political instability – just weeks after president Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted by the military.

His trial has been repeatedly delayed as his family and organisations such as Amnesty International call for his release. It has now been adjourned until Saturday.

Amnesty released a statement that noted the delay in Halawa’s trial, as well as for 493 others in Cairo as “Egypt continues to flout international human rights law with the continued detention of thousands who dared to peacefully protest”.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Egypt, Damien Cole, represented the Irish government at today’s hearing in Cairo and spoke directly both with Halawa’s family and his Egyptian lawyer.

‘Intensive engagement’

Upon hearing of the adjournment, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan noted: “Embassy officials have paid 48 consular visits to Mr Halawa, most recently on 23 November. This level of attendance and consular visitation underlines the importance the government attaches to the case.

My department will continue to provide consular assistance to Mr Halawa and his family, and will continue to try to secure positive progress for him at the earliest possible date.

Flanagan said that in his “intensive engagement” with his Egyptian counterpart Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, he has always “emphasised our wish to see Mr Halawa released by the Egyptian authorities”.

“I have highlighted the government’s concern regarding the length of time Mr Halawa has spent in detention. The Egyptian government – including through contacts between the Taoiseach and President al-Sisi – is in no doubt as to the Irish government’s strong interest in Mr Halawa’s welfare.”

Read: Ibrahim Halawa spends 20th birthday behind bars in Egyptian prison

Read: Ibrahim Halawa is in “reasonable spirits in trying circumstances”

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Órla Ryan


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