Friday 28 October 2016

Clooney law firm slams Government over Halawa

Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30

Ibrahim Halawa
Ibrahim Halawa
Lawyer Amal Clooney

A report co-written by the human rights law practice of Amal Clooney is critical of the Irish Government's efforts to secure the release of Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa.

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Dublin-born Halawa (19) has been in custody in Egypt for more than two years since his arrest during protests over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup.

A report by Doughty Street Chambers in London and Gilbert & Tobin Lawyers in Sydney claims the Government could seek Halawa's repatriation under a law used to grant the release of Australian journalist Peter Greste.

Doughty Street is the law practice of Mrs Clooney, wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney, and has been representing Halawa, while Gilbert & Tobin represents Greste.

The journalist was deported from Egypt earlier this year under what is known as Law 140, which allows for prisoners to be returned to their home country to be tried or serve out their sentence, depending on the circumstances.

But the Irish Government has maintained Law 140 cannot be applied to Halawa until the criminal proceedings against him are concluded, citing advice from a former prosecutor general in Egypt.

However, the report maintains Law 140 can be applied in Halawa's case and said the ­Government's position was "untenable", adding: "The plain terms of Law 140 make it applicable to both criminals and either suspects or accused."

Halawa, the son of Ireland's most senior Islamic cleric, Sheikh Hussein Halawa, has twice gone on hunger strike this year.

A mass trial in which he is a defendant has been adjourned on a number of occasions and there has been uncertainty over the exact charges he faces.

The report was disclosed by Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly, a member of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr Daly called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to get directly involved. "The Australian prime minister got directly involved in securing the release of their citizen using Egyptian Law 140. There is no reason why Ireland cannot seek the same treatment for Ibrahim," he said.

Irish Independent

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