herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Ibrahim's family fear execution as sentencing postponed for 13th time

Dubliner Ibrahim Halawa
Dubliner Ibrahim Halawa

The family of imprisoned Dublin man Ibrahim Halawa fear he may be sentenced to death in June, as his hearing was postponed for a 13th time.

A Cairo judge set a date for the next hearing for June 26 at a sitting of the mass trial of 494 defendants.

It was the 13th time that the Irish man has appeared in court but his family say that no case has been heard.

Mr Halawa (20) has now spent some 943 days in an Egyptian jail following his arrest in August 2013 when he was just 17.

“The judge said that a decision will be made at the next hearing – but if he will be sentenced to death or life, we don’t know,” his sister Somaia told the Herald.

“He hasn’t considered any of the evidence or listened to the lawyers, and this is the fair trial that the [Irish] Government are waiting on?

“I hope the next Government puts Ibrahim as a priority and condemns what’s happening to him.”

Ms Halawa said that the family know work has been done on her brother’s case by Irish diplomatic staff and the Department of Foreign Affairs, but they feel that the approach is “too soft”.

Outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, said that the latest delay in Mr Halawa’s case has caused him “deep concern”.

Concern

“The constant adjournments in the case are, understandably, a source of concern and frustration for Mr Halawa and his family, and I share their deep disappointment,” he said.

“I want to reassure Ibrahim’s family of my own and the Government’s continued commitment to achieving our two objectives: to secure his return to Ireland as soon as possible and to ensure his welfare during his detention,” he added.

Amnesty International Ireland’s director Colm O’Gorman said the new delay showed the “farcical” nature of the proceedings that Mr Halawa is faced with in Egypt.

“We urge the next Irish Government to continue working on his behalf and to use every means at their disposal to secure his release,” he said.

Amnesty International has declared the Firhouse resident a ‘prisoner of conscience’ following an investigation into the events that led to his arrest.

The student is being tried alongside some 494 other defendants.

His legal team have said that he is facing serious charges including murder, attempted murder and the possession of explosive devices.

Mr Halawa, who attended a protest following the ousting of President Morsi in Rames Square with three of his sisters on the day of his arrest, has denied all charges.

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