herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Trial date for Ibrahim Halawa pushed back again

Ibrahim Halawa
Ibrahim Halawa

DUBLIN teenager Ibrahim Halawa is facing "Groundhog Day" in a Cairo court, Amnesty International has said.

Mr Halawa's trial was postponed for the ninth time last night, this time because two defendants weren't in court, according to his family. He is not due to appear before a judge again until December 15.

The 19-year-old from Firhouse has been imprisoned for 780 days in Egypt following his arrest during the Al Fateh Mosque siege in August 2013.

His sister Nusayba told the Herald that the family are "very disappointed" at the latest twist in proceedings.

Released

Ibrahim's lawyer had appealed for him to be released on bail because he has been imprisoned for more than two years.

"There is a law that some people say is active that says that you can apply for bail after two years," Ms Halawa said.

"We're not in a good way because we had a big hope that he might be released on bail or at least that it would be postponed for a shorter time.

"We heard from the solicitor that they asked the judge to keep it to a short time and he said it can be a weekly hearing so we can finish the case quickly but he changed his words."

Her brother "could hardly stand" according to reports from family members at the trial. They said that from behind the glass barrier where the defendants are kept he signalled that he had a sore back. He is standing trial alongside some 493 other defendants in a mass trial.

Last night Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, slammed the detention of the Dubliner.

Prisoner

The charity has deemed him a prisoner of conscience after investigating the case.

"The Egyptian criminal justice system has clearly descended into farce.

"This young Irishman has been awaiting trial for over two years now.

"Today's [Sunday] further delay prolongs the horrific 'Groundhog Day' Ibrahim and his family have been put through for over two years," he said.

"This is truly devastating news for this young man and all who care about him. This situation simply cannot be allowed to continue."

Mr O'Gorman called on the Government to intervene.

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