Ibrahim Halawa verdict postponed for another three weeks
The verdict in the trial of an Irishman who has been imprisoned in Egypt for the past four years has been postponed until September 18.
Ibrahim Halawa (21) has been in jail for the last four years after he was arrested along with hundreds of other individuals during 2013 protests against the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi.
There have been numerous court hearings, which have all been adjourned, prompting widespread criticism here of the length of time he has been held without trial. There was much anticipation among Irish officials for the verdict today.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, has expressed disappointment and frustration at the news from Cairo.
Confirmed from Cairo - No verdict today on Ibrahim Halawa case. Judges have adjourned until 18 September - v frustrating but we keep working— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) August 28, 2017
“I am frustrated at the news that the final hearing in the court case involving Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa was today deferred. The Irish Ambassador was in court for this morning’s proceedings, and our understanding now is that the verdicts in the case will be announced on Monday, 18 September.
"This is very frustrating for Ibrahim Halawa and for his family, who were expecting some definitive news today, and I fully share that sense of disappointment and frustration at yet another delay in this long-running case.
"Nonetheless, we will be continuing to work in support of Ibrahim and his family and doing everything we can to ensure that he is able to return to Ireland as soon as possible once the trial ends.”
Children's Minister Katherine Zappone said she shares the "deep disappointment" of the Halawa family.
“I share the deep disappointment felt by the family of Ibrahim Halawa following the postponement of a verdict," Minister Zappone said.
"Ibrahim and his family are in my thoughts and prayers during this enormously difficult time.
"As Ibrahim’s local TD I remain in continuous contact with the family, his legal team as well as Government colleagues. This is a very difficult consular case for the Department of Foreign Affairs and the officials working behind the scenes have my full support.
"Ireland has respected the legal process and we expect it to deliver.
"At a time when hopes are high this further delay is very frustrating. Nevertheless we must continue to put in place the supports necessary to ensure Ibrahim’s health and well-being when he is allowed home to be reunited with his loved ones."
- Read more: Explainer: Everything you need to know as verdict expected in trial of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is to speak to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi by phone at 5pm today.
Speaking about the case over the weekend, Mr Varadkar said: "Certainly the Government is very keen to ensure that Ibrahim Halawa can return to Ireland as soon as possible," he said.
"The Egyptian government has always said that they cannot interfere in a trial in the same way an Irish Government cannot interfere in the court process. We will do everything we can to enable him to come home."
Speaking to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland earlier this morning, Minister Coveney said the Irish Government are in "close contact" with the Halawa family.
"The Taoiseach is speaking to the Egyptian president at 5pm today to talk about the Halawa case once we get an idea of what that verdict is," he said.
"We'll have clarity between 11am this morning and the afternoon.
"We are in close contact with his family to try and bring an end to the four-year ordeal today."