Monday 23 October 2017

Flanagan 'ignoring' family of jailed Irish teenager

Sisters Fatima and Nosayba Halawa and Sundas (3), who were holding a candlelight protest outside the Egyptian Embassay in December 2014
Sisters Fatima and Nosayba Halawa and Sundas (3), who were holding a candlelight protest outside the Egyptian Embassay in December 2014
Somaia and Khadija Halawa, sisters of Ibrahim Halawa, who is being detained in Egypt, pictured at their home in Firhouse, Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Ibrahim Halawa

Brian Byrne

The sister of an Irish teenager whose trial has been postponed for a fourth time in Egypt has claimed the Government has "ignored" his plight.

Dublin-born Ibrahim Halawa (19) faces charges of murder and attempted murder in a group trial alongside 493 others.

His sister Somaia told the Irish Independent that her attempts to secure a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan have repeatedly failed.

She said: "At a consular level, I am really appreciative of the hard work by the minister, Charlie Flanagan.

"But it's so upsetting that I have been trying for two months to ask for a meeting. No matter how many times I say how urgent it is, he is not answering my calls.

"I really don't understand why I am being ignored.

"Why does he not have time for a meeting with us as a family?"

Somaia said the latest adjournment was "very upsetting, and very depressing for the family". It's just too much," she added.

Mr Flanagan said: "I am disappointed to learn of the further delay today and concerned that the Egyptian authorities continue to consider Ibrahim's case as part of a group trial.

"I have personally raised the Government's concerns about this case with my Egyptian counterpart on a number of occasions."

A spokesman from the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Mr Flanagan had met with Ibrahim's family on July 31 last.

The spokesman added that senior officials at the department have been in touch with Ibrahim's family "on an almost daily basis" and that the Irish Ambassador to Egypt, Isolde Moylan, had met with Ibrahim 33 times.

The hearing had been due to take place yesterday morning in Tora prison, but the trial date has now been moved to March 29 to a courtroom outside the capital city.

Irish Independent

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