Varadkar assured Halawa will be allowed to return home

Taoiseach expresses frustration to Egyptian president who says case will be resolved swiftly

Ibrahim Halawa’s family  protesting along with members of Amnesty International outside the Egyptian embassy in Dublin last week. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ibrahim Halawa’s family protesting along with members of Amnesty International outside the Egyptian embassy in Dublin last week. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been assured Ibrahim Halawa will be allowed to return to Ireland once his case has reached a conclusion in Egypt.

Mr Halawa’s trial was postponed for a further three weeks despite expectations it would be concluded on Monday.

The 21-year-old Irish man, who has been detained for four years, was informed he will have to wait until September 18th to learn his fate.

Senior officials here believed a verdict would be delivered yesterday and the young man from Firhouse in Dublin could be back in Ireland within weeks.

Mr Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney expressed their deep frustration at the decision to adjourn the handing down of a verdict in the case but both said they would increase efforts to ensure Mr Halawa was allowed to come home.

In a lengthy phone call with Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi yesterday, Mr Varadkar made it clear his priority was to ensure Mr Halawa’s safe return to Ireland.

Mr al-Sisi stressed he could not interfere in a judicial process but said he would resolve the matter swiftly once a verdict had been reached.

Conclusion

A spokesman for Mr Varadkar said there was a commitment by both leaders to ensure this matter was brought to an early and satisfactory conclusion.

Mr Halawa has been on trial with 493 others, but the process has been beset by delays, and substantive hearings have only taken place in the past eight months.

He was arrested along with hundreds of others in Cairo during a mass demonstration against the military ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood government in August 2013.

No evidence implicating Mr Halawa was presented to the three-judge court.

Mr Halawa’s solicitor, Darragh Mackin of KRW Law, said the latest postponement was “unexpected, unjustified” and truly devastating for Mr Halawa and his family.