Belfast Telegraph

Release plea over Irish citizen

A legal plea to release an Irish man who has been detained for 18 months in Egypt has been made to a judge in Cairo, the Irish government has said.

The trial of Ibrahim Halawa, 19, had been due to start today but proceedings have been adjourned until next month to enable the judge to consider the release petition and other matters.

Mr Halawa, from Tallaght in Dublin, was arrested at a demonstration in Cairo.

He and other family members were detained in a mosque after taking part in a protest after former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power.

His relations were released after three months.

Mr Halawa and almost 500 others face charges including murder and attempted murder. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan said: "Ibrahim Halawa's welfare while in custody remains a primary concern for me and for my department, as it has been in our extensive engagement in this case to date.

"Officials from the Irish Embassy attended the court today and the presence of our ambassador was acknowledged at the hearing.

"I fully support the petition of release submitted by Ibrahim's lawyers and I and the Irish Government will continue to engage actively with the Egyptian authorities at the highest level to highlight our concerns, and to work in the best interests of this Irish citizen. I want to see Ibrahim back in Ireland with his family and completing his studies.

"My department will continue to provide support and consular assistance to this Irish citizen, and his family, and to work actively towards a positive outcome in this case."

The case has been adjourned until April 26.

The formal petition for his release stressed the defendant's youth and his Irish citizenship.

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