Belfast Telegraph

President of Egypt vows to free Irishman held in prison

By Ed Carty

The Egyptian president has given his word that he will release a jailed Irishman once a verdict is delivered in a long-running trial.

Ibrahim Halawa (21) had been expecting a judgment in the mass trial over Muslim Brotherhood protests which took place in Cairo in August 2013 following the removal of elected president Mohamed Morsi.

The ruling was postponed with a new hearing date set for September 18.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held a 25-minute phone call with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi yesterday, in which he expressed his disappointment at the latest delay.

A spokesman said: "He made clear to President el-Sisi that his priority was to secure the return of Ibrahim Halawa to Ireland as soon as possible."

The Irish government said Mr el-Sisi "gave the taoiseach his word" he would resolve the matter swiftly within the Egyptian constitutional and legal framework after a verdict is delivered.

Ibrahim Halawa was jailed after being detained in a mosque in Cairo four years ago. Along with scores of others he is accused of murders, bombing, possession of firearms and explosives, arson, violence against police and desecration of a mosque.

Mr Halawa's solicitor Darragh Mackin, of KRW Law, said no specific evidence was introduced in the long-running trial relating to the Irishman.

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