Time running out for Ibrahim Halawa

The lack of Government action in the case of Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa, who is awaiting trial in Egypt and a possible death sentence, has been questioned by international human rights lawyers.

Halawa made his ninth appearance before an Egyptian court during October where his trial was delayed again until 15th December. Halawa (19) was just 17 when he was arrested alongside his three older sisters in Cairo in August of 2013, after a day of protest turned violent following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

He is one of 420 defendants collectively facing charges that include murder, although no evidence has been produced against him.

The family and their lawyers held a briefing on the case for Irish MEPs in Brussels in October, organised by Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan.

Boylan said a number of key points had emerged from the gathering, which included Christopher Ward, the lawyer who worked to free Australian journalist Peter Greste who shared a cell with Ibrahim. It was also addressed, via Skype, by Greste himself.

In other cases of detained foreign nationals, the quiet, diplomatic approach, such as that used for Ibrahim, had been less successful in securing a release than a vocal campaign, Boylan said.

Concerns over the mistreatment of Halawa continue despite him being visited by Irish embassy staff a number of times in prison. During a visit to Egypt in August, Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Pat Breen visited Halawa but only spoke to him in the presence of his prison governor.

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