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Thursday 26 April 2018

Heartbreak for family as Halawa trial again postponed

Ibrahim Halawa said his four years in an Egyptian prison had been a
Ibrahim Halawa said his four years in an Egyptian prison had been a "painful journey" and thanked his supporters for standing by him.

Robin Schiller

The family of an Irishman who has been imprisoned in an Egyptian jail for the last four years have expressed their heartbreak after the verdict in his trial was again postponed.

Ibrahim Halawa (21) has been held in a Cairo jail since 2013 after he was arrested along with hundreds of other individuals during protests against the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi. He has endured more than 30 adjournments.

There was no reason given yesterday for the postponing of the trial verdict for three weeks, with a new date set for September 18.

His sister Somaia expressed how disappointed the family were when they heard the news about Ibrahim.

"It is truly upsetting and heartbreaking to constantly keep having our expectations and hopes shattered into a million pieces," she said.

"It is not just Ibrahim's life that is being played around with, but also the entire family's life. We would ask that our family are allowed some time to ourselves during this difficult period."

The family solicitor, Darragh Mackin, added: "Today's news is truly devastating for our client and his family. Regrettably, this is not the first time the case has been due to conclude when a last minute, unexpected, and unjustified decision is taken to delay the case further. We are now four years on, with each day and each false dawn having a hugely significant mental and physical impact on our client's health.

"It is not known when this case will ever end. Such irrational and unpredictable decisions cannot be allowed to continue, and in particular when they operate in a vacuum of lawfulness depriving our client of his basic rights."

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke by phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

During the 25-minute phone call, the Taoiseach expressed his disappointment at the further adjournment of the trial.

He made clear to Mr Al-Sisi that his priority was to secure the return of Mr Halawa to Ireland as soon as possible.

Mr Al-Sisi emphasised that his government could not interfere in a judicial process but gave the Taoiseach his word that he would resolve the matter swiftly within the Egyptian constitutional and legal framework once the trial concludes and the verdict is known.

Irish Independent

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