CrowdJustice aims to raise funds for Irish citizen detained in Cairo

CrowdJustice aims to raise funds for Irish citizen detained in Cairo

Lawyers acting for an Irish citizen who faces the death penalty in Egypt have teamed up with a litigation crowdfunding website to raise money to cover the case’s expenses.

Ibrahim Halawa was arrested in Cairo in August 2013 at the age of 17 for his alleged participation in a political protest. He has allegedly suffered torture and permanent disfigurement to his hand since being taken into custody.

Mr Halawa awaits a mass trial and lawyers at Belfast firm KRW Law LLP believe he faces the death penalty if convicted.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher of Doughty Street Chambers in London has been instructed by KRW Law LLP on the case.

The lawyers are acting pro bono but £3,000 is being sought to cover the costs of travel, interpreters and other expenses, with the family having so far carried the cost burden associated with defending the case across two continents.

CrowdJustice, the UK’s first litigation crowdfunding platform, has previously worked on cases involving Doughty Street Chambers and was approached to help raise the funds.

Julia Salasky
Julia Salasky, co-founder of CrowdJustice

Julia Salasky, a non-practising solicitor and co-founder of CrowdJustice, told Irish Legal News that crowdfunding “is a way that people can come together around issues of great importance or which affect them”.

She added: “Lots of people are passionate about getting Halawa released and it’s a fundamental human rights issue, so it’s something that is certainly amenable to crowdfunding, bringing communities together around this case.”

Explaining CrowdJustice’s background, Ms Salasky said: “At the same time that it’s becoming harder for people to access legal services, people are also way more engaged in their communities - you can see it in the rise of petition sites and all sorts of civic engagement tools.

“We thought it was really obvious that people could also come together to help other people access justice, so basically come together around issues that they care about and that affect them.”

CrowdJustice is aiming to raise a total of £3,000 over the course of the month-long online fundraising campaign.

Individuals can pledge as little or as much as they want, but the money will be returned to donors if the £3,000 target is not reached.

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