Further delay to Ibrahim Halawa hearing

Eygpt’s ambassador to Ireland snubbed efforts by an Oireachtas committee to attend yesterday’s scheduled court hearing in Cairo of the mass trial involving Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa.

The 19-year-old Dubliner’s trial was adjourned for a ninth time, this time to December 15, apparently because two of the 494 defendants failed to appear.

Amnesty International head in Ireland, Colm O’Gorman, described the latest development as “obscene” and Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan, who visited Ibrahim in prison during the summer, called for immediate intervention by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

She accused the Government of treating Ibrahim “like some sort of part-time Irishman” and said it was time they acknowledged his rights as a citizen.

Ibrahim was arrested while on holiday with relatives in Cairo in August 2013 after he was caught up in violence following the ousting of the Egyptian president.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan rejected the criticisms, saying a formal application was made in court for Ibrahim’s release and the judge’s decision was now awaited.

“The Irish Government was represented at today’s hearing by officials from the Irish Embassy in Cairo, who have attended all hearings to date and have also paid 45 consular visits to Mr Halawa,” he said. “The Egyptian Government is in no doubt as to the Irish Government’s strong interest in Mr Halawa’s welfare.”

However, it emerged that a request by the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee to send a delegation to Egypt for yesterday’s hearing was ignored by the Egyptian authorities. Senator Mark Daly, who proposed the trip, published the letter sent by the committee to the Egyptian ambassador and said there had simply been no response.


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