Family of Ibrahim Halawa 'devastated' as Egypt trial is adjourned for the 14th time
The trial of Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt has been adjourned for the 14th time today as a court in Cairo ordered a review of video evidence.
The news was greeted with concern by the Dubliner’s family and Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan.
There had been indications that a verdict was to be delivered in the case today, but this did not transpire.
Instead a review of technical evidence, involving video footage, was ordered by the court. This is to be delivered by October 2.
Mr Halawa, the son of Muslim cleric Sheikh Hussein Halawa, was 17 when he was arrested during a protest against the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
He has been in custody ever since.
There has been contradictory information about the charges he faces, but they are understood to include attempted murder and traveling to take part in a banned event.
He is among almost 500 people who have been put on mass trial, but the proceedings have been repeatedly delayed and adjourned.
Human rights groups have complained his legal team has had difficulties representing him in court and has not been able to submit a defense on his behalf.
Concerns have also been raised about his treatment in prison.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “I am extremely disappointed at the news of a further delay in the trial of Mr Halawa.
“This latest delay is a particular source of concern and frustration for Mr Halawa and his family.
“I fully share their sense of frustration.”
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Mr Flanagan said he would be conveying his concerns about the latest delay to the Egyptian government and would be seeking more information on the review of technical evidence ordered by the court and its likely impact on this trial.”
Mr Halawa’s sister Somaia said the family was “devastated” by the adjournment, describing it as “deeply troubling”.
“It was confirmed on the previous occasion, and reaffirmed in the interim, that judgment would be passed in Ibrahim’s case today,” she said.
“It now appears that a decision has been taken by the judiciary to reopen the case, and to reassess video evidence that has always been available.
“This decision comes as a surprise to our family, and the Irish Government, in circumstances where we all understood the proceedings would come to a conclusion today.
“This sparks a further delay, in what appears to be an indication that the trial will now start afresh in October.”
The Halawa family’s solicitor, human rights lawyer Darragh Macken, said they would be meeting the Department of Foreign Affairs in the coming days to discuss the development.
“For the trial to be re-opened, and adjourned to October is entirely insupportable,” he said.
“It is no secret that we have serious concerns and reservations about the criminal justice process in Egypt. These concerns have manifested themselves in today’s decision.
“Power does not appear to listen to reason.
“We must now, in tandem with the Irish Government, reassess our options in light of today’s development.”