Trial of Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt delayed for 23rd time

Minister says ambassador met Irish citizen on Sunday and work to secure release ongoing

There has been yet another delay in the trial of Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa who has been held in jail in Egypt since August 2013.

Mr Halawa, from Firhouse, Dublin, was just 17 when he was detained and has since seen his trial delayed 23 times.

He is among hundreds of defendants awaiting trial after being arrested during a Muslim Brotherhood “day of rage” following the removal of president Mohamed Morsi. Amnesty International says Mr Halawa was sheltering in the Al Fath mosque at the time of his arrest and could not be guilty of the charges against him.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan welcomed comments from the trial judge who said new methods would be used to accelerate the trial process.


He said his officials were in court and there was some sign of “positive momentum” in the case, in that the adjournment to May 17th for the next hearing was the shortest to date.

Mr Flanagan said Ambassador Damien Cole met Mr Halawa on Sunday and told him the Government was continuing to do all it could to secure his release.

Mr Halawa’s family said he had asked that he be moved to Tora prison, where the rest of the defendants are being held. They said he claims to have been sexually harassed by a prison guard, that he fears for his health and safety, and that he is not receiving medication for his heart condition and a rash on his body.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it follows up on all issues raised by Irish citizens with the appropriate authorities.

Amnesty International described the latest delay in the trial process as “beyond farcical” and said Mr Halawa’s continued imprisonment was a serious violation of international and Egyptian law.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent