Trial of Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa adjourned
Amnesty says detention of Dublin-born teenager amounts to ‘psychological torture’
The trial of Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa (above) has been adjourned.
Irish Ambassador Isolde Moylan, who was in court, confirmed the change of date. The trial will continue on April 26th.
Petitions were submitted before the court was informed that the trial would be adjourned.
Mr Halawa (19) has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and participating in an illegal protest along with several hundred Egyptians who face the death penalty as well as long terms of imprisonment.
If convicted Mr Halawa could also face the death penalty. Amnesty International expressed concern about Mr Halava’s welfare.
Executive director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman said the organisation is concerned “for the immediate safety of the detained defendants especially Irish prisoner of conscience, Ibrahim Halawa.”
“The detention conditions he is being reportedly held in amount to psychological torture given he would be surrounded by prisoners sentenced to death and waiting to be executed.
“Added to this is the psychological impact of being held in a cell which has housed prisoners who were subsequently executed.”
“Ibrahim Halawa’s family fears that he is being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in the prison. Amnesty International is deeply worried about the impact of Ibrahim’s arrest and ongoing detention are having on the health and well-being of this young man.”
In a statement issued this afternoon, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said Mr Halawa’s welfare remains “a primary concern”. He said he supported a petition of release submitted by Mr Halawa’s lawyers and added that the Government will continue to “engage actively with the Egyptian authorities at the highest level to highlight our concerns, and to work in the best interests of this Irish citizen.”
“I want to see Ibrahim back in Ireland with his family and completing his studies,” he said in the statement.
“My Department will continue to provide support and consular assistance to this Irish citizen, and his family, and to work actively towards a positive outcome in this case.”
Mr Halawa was arrested along with three of his sisters on August 17th, 2013, and has been in custody since. His three sisters were subsequently released and have campaigned for his release.
The Halawa family has been critical of how the Government has dealt with the case and despite two meetings with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, Mr Halawa’s sister, Somaia Halawa, said recently that whatever pressure the Irish Government had brought to bear has not worked.
Supporters of Mr Halawa have called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene and have him released from jail. A rally in support of Mr Halawa was held in Dublin on Saturday.
On Friday, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan described Ibrahim Halawa as an “Irish-speaking, GAA-playing Dublin lad” and asked whether the Government would do more if Mr Halawa’s name was “Paddy Murphy”.
“He’s as Irish as any young boy. If this was a white person from Ballyhaunis would the Government be more active?”