Family hopeful teen will be released from Egypt jail

The sister of Ibrahim Halawa, the Irish teenager held in an Egyptian jail, has said she has renewed hope that her brother will be freed after the sudden release of another foreign citizen who was his cellmate.

Family hopeful teen will be released from Egypt jail

But Nosayba Halawa said repeated delays in 19-year-old Ibrahim’s trial made it impossible to know the view of the Egyptian authorities.

Ibrahim has been in jail since August 2013, when he and his four sisters were among hundreds arrested after anti-government demonstrations were broken up with violence in Cairo.

His sisters were released but Ibrahim and 493 others have been held since, all facing the same charges, including murder, but without any evidence presented against them.

Ms Halawa said the news of the release of Australian journalist Peter Greste, who shared a cell with Ibrahim, was heartening. “Sometimes I think we have to prepare the house, that maybe Ibrahim will be coming through the door any time,” she said.

The mass trial has been repeatedly rescheduled but is set down again for this Sunday, although it is unclear how authorities will overcome the difficulties of accommodating 494 defendants in one court room, which resulted in previous postponements.

Egypt shows no signs of softening its stance on supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. A court yesterday upheld death sentences passed on 183 people accused of attacking police during the 2013 unrest.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said diplomatic efforts to secure Ibrahim’s release are continuing.

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