Zappone offers "prayers and solidarity" to Halawa family ahead of expected verdict

A verdict is expected to be given in Egypt on Monday

Zappone offers "prayers and solidarity" to Halawa family ahead of expected verdict

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, speaking to the media at Leinster House | Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has praised the family of Ibrahim Halawa, ahead of an expected verdict in his mass trial.

The Dublin South West TD said: "My thoughts, prayers and solidarity are with Ibrahim, his family and the thousands who have campaigned on his behalf ahead of the expected verdict.

"His loved ones have been some of the most inspiring people I have campaigned side by side with.

"Their resilience has been a privilege to see at first hand during vigils, demonstrations and within the corridors of Government Buildings in meetings with the Taoiseach and other Ministers.

"As their local TD I will be watching and hoping that the expected verdict will pave the way for Ibrahim’s swift return home.

"I will also be working with his family, legal team and Government colleagues to ensure that supports are put in place for his return.

"His health, psychological and social requirements must be assessed as a priority and support offered."

Ibrahim Halawa | File photo

A verdict is expected to be given on Monday.

Minister Zappone says she remains in close contact with the Halawa family and his legal team.

Mr Halawa (21), from Firhouse in Dublin, has been held in an Egyptian jail since his arrest during demonstrations against the ousting of president Mohammed Morsi in August 2013.

He has now spent almost four years in prison, amid continued delays to a mass trial that involves more than 490 other defendants.

The court has begun hearing from the defence.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: "It has taken a long time to get here, but I welcome the fact that we have finally arrived at the point where Mr Halawa and his lawyers have had an opportunity to give his side of the story and to put forward legal argument in his defence."