Belfast Telegraph

We will pressurise Egypt over Ibrahim Halawa release, says Charlie Flanagan

Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan has insisted Egyptian authorities will be left in no doubt that the case of Ibrahim Halawa must be resolved.

The student marked his 21st birthday in a Cairo jail as a mass trial was adjourned for a 17th time, three years on from his detention during a crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr Flanagan said the further delay was to be regretted but added that a technical review of evidence in the case has been completed.

"The Irish Government remains determined to see Ibrahim Halawa return to his family in Ireland and we will not relent in our efforts with the Egyptian authorities to secure Ibrahim's release," he said.

Ireland's Ambassador to Egypt Damien Cole was in court for the hearing.

Mr Halawa's sisters made further attempts to raise awareness of the case in central Dublin by asking members of the public to sign a birthday card for their brother.

From Firhouse in Dublin and the son of prominent Muslim cleric Sheikh Hussein Halawa, Ibrahim Halawa was detained in a mosque near Ramses Square in Cairo as the Muslim Brotherhood held a "day of rage" over the removal of their elected president Mohamed Morsi in August 2013.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has written to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el Sisi this week to express concern about the case.

Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to phone the Egyptian leader and to ramp up diplomatic lobbying to secure Mr Halawa's release as part of a youth amnesty.

"A Dublin teenager is missing out on some of the best years of his youth and it is absolutely urgent that all possible avenues are explored by the Irish government to end this travesty of justice in Egypt," she said.

Mr Flanagan said the Government is focused on putting pressure on Egypt over an application to secure Mr Halawa's deportation to Ireland.

He added: "The Government will continue to use every possible opportunity to underline our concerns about this case to the Egyptian authorities, both bilaterally and with the EU and other partners."

Mr Halawa's case is due before the court on January 17.


From Belfast Telegraph