Wednesday 23 August 2017

Ibrahim Halawa's sister on the hope Leo Varadkar provides and her fears the trial may drag on

Above is Irishman Ibrahim Halawa, who has been in an Egyptian jail for four years without trial
Above is Irishman Ibrahim Halawa, who has been in an Egyptian jail for four years without trial

Kathy Armstrong

Ibrahim Halawa's sister has said that she hopes Taoiseach Leo Varadkar can help free him but she finds it hard to stay positive.

The Dubliner was arrested and imprisoned in Cairo in 2013 when he was just 17 for taking part in a protest and his trial in Egypt has been adjourned 26 times since.

The prosecution case of the trial came to an end over the weekend but 21-year-old Ibrahim's sister Somaia admits she's still hesitant about the progress they're making.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk today, she said: "It's very hard to be optimistic and you have to look at the very little things to help you stay strong.

"We just want to highlight this one thing that people tend to forget - this trial has been there for four years, a mass trial that's been dragged for four years.

"It's very nice to look at the positive things but we don't want to forget that it's a mass trial and the defence part could take over two years, we're talking about 492 people.

"It's very difficult to know what's going to happen, there's no system and no justice.

"We don't know what's going to come next or what will happen, we only know for the same day how it will go."

Nosayba (left) and Somaia Halawa, sisters of Ibrahim Halawa, in Dublin, where family members and supporters held an awareness day
Nosayba (left) and Somaia Halawa, sisters of Ibrahim Halawa, in Dublin, where family members and supporters held an awareness day

Read More: Irishman Ibrahim Halawa's trial in Egypt adjourned for 26th time in four years

She added: "It's basically only the judge decides what's going to happen and he can release Ibrahim whether he feels like it or not.
"We're coming to the summer holidays and in September they change the judges around, so we are talking about maybe another judge taking the case who might decide to start it all over again.

"That would be a waste of four years where they would be repeating the same mistakes again."

The Dubliner's family also maintain that he is not guilty.

She said: "Unless they have proof, Ibrahim is innocent.

"Second, Ibrahim's name is not in the evidence book and also none of the other witnesses have recognised Ibrahim or said they knew him.

"The fact we have these three things but he's still being brought through the trial process and we're still waiting to see when this is going to end."

Read More: Trial of Irishman held in Egypt since 2013 nearing end

Ibrahim Halawa is being held in Egypt.
Ibrahim Halawa is being held in Egypt.

She also called on Mr Varadkar to do everything in his power to secure Ibrahim's release.

She said: "I don't want the Taoiseach to make the same mistake that Enda Kenny did, that we sit down and watch when this trial is going to end...

"His hope is back, he knows there's a new Taoiseach and that maybe this will be a new start for him.

"I think the first Leo should do is not repeat Enda's mistakes, he needs to end this process."

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