Ibrahim Halawa’s trial in Egypt delayed for 19th time

Minister for Foreign Affairs says is ‘deeply disappointed’ over latest adjournment

The trial of Ibrahim Halawa, the Irishman detained in Egypt for more than three years, has been delayed for the 19th time.

March 22nd has been set as the new date for the hearing.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said he was “deeply disappointed”, while Amnesty International said Egypt is ignoring human rights laws.

Mr Halawa, from Firhouse in south Dublin, was arrested in August 2013 at the Fateh mosque in Cairo during protests against the ousting of then-president Mohamed Morsi.


Mass trial

He and 493 others were put on mass trial on serious charges which could result in life imprisonment or the death penalty. About 80 of the defendants have been tried in absentia.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Egypt, Damien Cole, was present in the court for Tuesday’s hearing.

Mr Flanagan said despite the adjournment, the judges have indicated a “clear desire” to move the case forward.

“The Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs and our Embassy in Cairo will be continuing to monitor all developments in relation to Ibrahim Halawa’s case and his welfare, and we will be providing every possible consular assistance to Ibrahim and his family,” he added.

Amnesty International said audio-video evidence from the case proves that Mr Halawa could not have committed the violent crimes with which he has been charged.

“It is long past time that this young Irish citizen should be released and allowed to return home to Dublin,” said Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O’Gorman.

‘A prisoner of conscience’

“Ibrahim is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly. His continuing imprisonment represents an inexcusable violation of both international and Egyptian law.”

The Green Party also expressed disappointment at the news of the adjournment.

“This is a bitterly disappointing blow for Ibrahim after the visit of the Oireachtas delegation recently,” said Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin.

“We now know that Ibrahim will be returned home to Ireland as soon as his trial finishes, but this is a very hollow promise if a trial never happens. It is vitally important that this process is brought to an end.”

The case was apparently adjourned following petitions from a number of defendants. The judges agreed that witnesses could not be called while defendants were not present.

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist