Ibrahim Halawa trial postponed for tenth time because of absent detainee

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan

A mass trial in Egypt involving Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa was postponed for the tenth time at a brief hearing in Cairo yesterday.

The case was adjourned until Saturday because one of Mr Halawa’s 420 fellow detainees was absent.

Mr 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.

Lawyers at Belfast firm KRW Law LLP believe he faces the death penalty if convicted.

Ireland’s ambassador to Egypt, Damien Cole, attended yesterday’s hearing on behalf of the Government and spoke with his legal team in Egypt.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “Officials from the Embassy have attended all hearings to date and this Irish citizen and his family have been the recipients of comprehensive consular assistance from my Department.

“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.”

He added: “In my intensive engagement with my Egyptian counterpart Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, I have always emphasised our wish to see Mr Halawa released by the Egyptian authorities and 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.”

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