"Bureaucracy" to blame for delay to Halawa's release from prison

The Foreign Affairs Minister says his department "literally speaking to the authorities on a daily basis in Cairo"

"Bureaucracy" to blame for delay to Halawa's release from prison

Undated photo of Ibrahim Halawa | Image: Facebook/Free Ibrahim Halawa

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has said bureaucracy is to blame for the delay to Ibrahim Halawa’s release from prison.

The Dubliner was acquitted three weeks ago after a mass trial - but has yet to be released from prison in Cairo.

Mr Halawa has been in prison for more than four years since his arrest during demonstrations against the ousting of former-President Mohammed Morsi in August 2013.

His family have spoken of their frustration at the delay to his release – adding that the past few weeks have been the toughest of his imprisonment.

The mass-trial involved 490 defendants and on The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said Egyptian authorities are determined to process them all at once.

He said the Government’s pleas for Mr Halawa’s release to be fast-tracked have fallen on deaf ears.

“I think this is genuinely bureaucracy,” he said. “This is a case that had 490 defendants in it.”

“What the prosecutor’s office is saying is that they want to release the letters to the prison service in relation to all of those defendants at the same time.

“We had asked them to fast-track and prioritise Ibrahim Halawa’s case - because he is Irish obviously - and they have said no, they need to deal with them all together.”

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs is "literally speaking to the authorities on a daily basis in Cairo" adding "Ibrahim will be released in the next few days."

Mr Halawa was acquitted of all charges on September 18th.