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Minister 'concerned' at postponement of Dublin man's trial in Cairo

Published 06/03/2016

Charlie Flanagan said his department would continue to provide consular assistance
Charlie Flanagan said his department would continue to provide consular assistance

A Government minister has expressed "deep concern" after the trial of a young Dublin man jailed in Egypt three years ago over political protests was again postponed.

Ibrahim Halawa was 17 when he was detained while taking refuge in a mosque near Cairo's Ramses Square as the Muslim Brotherhood held a "day of rage" over the removal of their elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Now 20, he is facing the death penalty if found guilty.

He is on mass trial along with almost 500 other alleged dissenters.

The case has been repeatedly delayed. On the Sunday it was put back again - this time until June.

Mr Halawa, from Firhouse in south Dublin, has been detained in Cairo since August 2013. He was initially arrested with three of his sisters.

Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan said he was very disappointed at the latest hold-up.

"I am deeply concerned that the case of Ibrahim Halawa has again been adjourned for a considerable period of time," he said.

"The constant adjournments in the case are, understandably, a source of concern and frustration for Mr Halawa and his family, and I share their deep disappointment at today's news.

"Ireland's ambassador to Egypt Mr Damien Cole was once again present in the court for today's hearing and spoke with members of Ibrahim Halawa's family following the adjournment.

"I want to reassure Ibrahim's family of my own and the Government's continued commitment to achieving our two objectives: to secure his return to Ireland as soon as possible and to ensure his welfare during his detention.

"My department is continuing to provide consular assistance to Ibrahim Halawa through regular prison visits.

"Officials from my department will continue to work closely with Mr Halawa's Egyptian legal team in support of our consular objectives."

Mr Halawa's lawyers, who were refused access to him until last year, have claimed he was denied medical treatment for a gunshot wound to his hand following his arrest and he has been left permanently disfigured as a result.

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