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Dublin teen to learn his fate in Egyptian court


In jail cell: Teenager Ibrahim Halawa

In jail cell: Teenager Ibrahim Halawa

In jail cell: Teenager Ibrahim Halawa

A DUBLIN teenager who has been imprisoned in Cairo for 16 months is expected to finally appear in court today.

Ibrahim Halawa (18) has been held in Torah prison in the Egyptian capital since August 2013 but has yet to be tried.

His family do not believe the Egyptian justice system will allow the student home.

"Unless there is a miracle, that's the only hope that we have. It's the only way Ibrahim will get out," his sister Somaia told the Herald.

The teenager was arrested during the Al Fateh Mosque siege in Cairo in August last year.

Military officers stormed the building in a series of attempts to quash pro-Mohammed Morsi demonstrations that had sprung up when the former president was ousted.

Somaia Halawa does not think recent events in Egypt will make any difference to her brother's case.

The family have vowed to step up their campaign for his release if his trial collapses.

Defendants in similar mass trials have been handed the death penalty.

"We are just waiting, we have not heard anything at all. We could end up in the same place again," his sister said.

In his last letter home three weeks ago, Ibrahim appeared to be losing faith.

"In between the lines you could see he was losing hope," Somaia said.

"There is only so much that a person can take.

"I want people to realise what kind of people he is dealing with. I have seen animals with more rights".

Ibrahim has been receiving messages of support from people around the world - letters delivered to his cell that have kept him positive for the most part.

At home, his family will have to wait for news from Cairo, relayed by his mother who will join him in the courthouse.

The hearing will see him stand alongside 400 other defendants.

"People have been saying that it will go ahead, but more than likely it will be postponed," Somaia said.

"It's so hard to know what we can do for him."

Ibrahim has been attacked several times during his imprisonment and, according to his sister, has been tortured with electric shocks.

His family fear he will still be in prison when he turns 19 later this month.

And they are concerned for his health, saying he has respiratory problems that are being made worse by the constant smoking of his cellmates.