Ibrahim Halawa trial postponed for eleventh time until January

Lawyers walk out of Egyptian court in protest over not being treated with proper respect

The trial in Egypt of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa has been postponed for the eleventh time.

The trial in Egypt of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa has been postponed for the eleventh time.

 

The trial of Irish national Ibrahim Halawa in an Egyptian court was adjourned once again on Saturday and will not resume until January 9th.

Mr Halawa (20) was detained in mid-August 2013 after taking part in a illegal protest against the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, a senior member of the subsequently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Lawyers for the 420 defendants, including Mr Halawa, appointed a spokesman to present grievances to the judge. He complained that ailing accused were not allowed to consult doctors.

He also argued that defendants should be released since, according to the law, they are entitled to be freed on bail after they have spent two years in detention if legal proceedings have not concluded. This law has been applied in other cases, including those involving the sons of former president Hosni Mubarak who was toppled in February 2011 during the popular uprising.

The lawyers’ spokesman also said he and his colleagues have not been treated with proper respect as they were left standing outside the court for long periods before being admit ted and banned from bringing mobile phones into the courtroom. The lawyers then walked out in protest.

The judge ordered a 40-minute recess to consider their complaints. He did not return but ordered officials to resolve the issue of doctors visits, leaving the other problems until the next session.

The hearing was held south of Cairo at a venue near the Wadi Natrun prison where Mr Halawa and the other defendants are being held. It was attended by Irish consul Sean Norton.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan expressed disappointment and concern over the latest adjournment of the trial. “I have also worried by reports that the lawyers involved in this trial have collectively withdrawn ..and I hope this matter can be resolved as soon as possible.

“I remain very concerned about the length of time that Ibrahim has spent in detention and I have conveyed this concern directly to the Egyptian government.” He said his department and the government are working continually to secure the speedy conclusion of the trial and Mr Halawa’s release.

“ The Egyptian government is in no doubt as to the Irish Governments strong interest in Mr Halawa’s welfare and our wish to see him released,” he said.

Amnesty International has declared Mr Halawa a prisoner of conscience and called for his release. “As Ibrahim spends his 856th night in an Egyptian prison cell, Amnesty International continues to be gravely concerned for his mental and physical wellbeing, and again calls for his immediate and unconditional release,” Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland said in a statement on Saturday.

Mr Halawa, from Firhouse in south Dublin was arrested along with his three sisters while taking refuge in the Fateh mosque in central Cairo after taking part in a banned march calling for the reinstatement of Mr Morsi. The event sparked violence in the area and a police station was attacked.

Although Mr Halawa’s sisters, Fatima, Omaima and Somaia, were released on bail and repatriated after three months, he remains in custody although the charges laid against him are relatively minor: participating in a prohibited demonstration and travelling across Cairo to do so.

Mr Halawa’s father Sheikh Hussein Halawa, who was born in Egypt, is Ireland’s senior Muslim cleric and imam at the Clonskeagh mosque.