Thursday 22 February 2018

'It has taken a long time to get to this stage' - trial of Irishman detained in Egypt due to hear closing arguments

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

Laura Larkin

The trial of Ibrahim Halawa has heard from all witnesses and will next hear closing arguments Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney has said.

Mr Halawa was imprisoned after being detained during Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo in 2013, and hearings have been adjourned and delayed numerous times over the last four years.

"I have just had a report from our team of diplomats at the Irish Embassy in Cairo who were in court today for the latest hearing in the ongoing group trial involving Ibrahim Halawa," he said.

"Today’s court session saw video evidence shown and discussed, and 17 witnesses called by the defence lawyers.  The judge said that this was the full list of defence witnesses, and that no further witnesses remain to be called in the trial."

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

The next hearing of the case is due to take place on July 25.

"The judge indicated that the prosecutor will present the final arguments for the prosecution side on that occasion. Irish Government observers will be present in the court again for that hearing and for the subsequent hearings when the defendants’ cases will be presented," Minister Coveney added.

"It has taken a long time to get to this stage in the process, but it finally looks as if this trial is moving towards a conclusion."

Mr Halawa, the son of a prominent Muslim cleric in Dublin - Sheikh Hussein Halawa, was imprisoned after being detained in a mosque near Ramses Square in Cairo as the Muslim Brotherhood protested over the removal of elected president Mohamed Morsi in August 2013.

In letters home to his family and supporters he has detailed torture at the hands of authorities there and has gone on hunger strike a number of times during his detention. 

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