‘Ibrahim will be allowed return home’

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said that he will insist on Egypt honouring an agreement to allow Ibrahim Halawa return to Ireland whether or not he is found guilty following his trial in Cairo.

‘Ibrahim will be allowed return home’

Mr Coveney said the Government had received assurances that Ibrahim would be allowed home, either as a free man or to serve a sentence here. He told Newstalk radio he expected that agreement to be fulfilled.

He was speaking as Ibrahim, from Firhouse in Dublin, marked his fourth year in detention in Egypt following his arrest during anti-government protests in Cairo where he was holidaying with relatives while waiting for his Leaving Certificate results in 2013.

Amnesty, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, and other human rights groups and supporters, gathered to protest at the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin.

Ibrahim, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, is one of 493 defendants arrested in the crackdown on protesters and who are charged with a range of offences, including murder.

The marathon mass trial, which is expected to end in the next few months, has been widely denounced as a farce that meets none of the standards for the administration of criminal justice demanded by international law.

Egyptian ambassador to Ireland, Soha Gendi, said the proceedings were not a mass trial, insisting all the defendants were adequately represented even though she conceded they were kept in glass containers separated from the proceedings.

“It was an exceptional situation. It was a situation of turmoil,” she said.

“Some of the defendants are very remarkably dangerous people.”

She also dismissed human rights groups’ reports about the ill-treatment of prisoners and Ibrahim’s own accounts of the treatment he has suffered.

Mr Coveney said he had sent a personal message to Ibrahim yesterday to assure him the Government was doing everything to get him home and to encourage him to stay hopeful.

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