'Greater degree of priority' given to Halawa case than any other - Charlie Flanagan

The Foreign Affairs Minister is hoping for a verdict when Ibrahim appears before a court in Egypt again later this month

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The Foreign Affairs Minister has said his Department has levelled a 'greater degree of priority' on the case of Ibrahim Halawa than any other.

The 20-year-old from Firhouse in Dublin was arrested taking pictures of a Muslim Brotherhood protest while on holiday in Cairo in 2013.

Ibrahim, who was 17 when he was arrested, is due in court again on June 29th. The trial has already been postponed more than a dozen times.

Mr Halawa could face the death penalty if found guilty of terrorism charges.

Speaking to Jonathan Healy on Newstalk Lunchtime today, Minister Flanagan said: "We have just under 2,000 individual consular cases on an annual basis. I can say without fear of contradiction that the case of Ibrahim Halawa imprisoned in Egypt is the case upon which we have levelled a greater degree of priority than any other.

He said the strategy of the Government here is "to see him home, released by the Egyptian authorities" so he can resume his studies and a normal life.

Minister Flanagan stressed that he is consistently been in contact with Egyptian authorities over Ibrahim's health and welfare while he is in prison awaiting trial. 

"I would hope that we would have a verdict on [June 29th], and we would be in a position to move matters then from the judicial to the political," Minister Flanagan added.

Last week, Minister Flanagan told Newstalk the Government will wait until a verdict has been given in Ibrahim's case before trying to use a possible loophole to try and free him.

Law 140, which was used to get journalist Peter Greste freed, states that the President of Egypt can allow a prisoner with dual citizenship to complete the judicial process in his home country.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim's sister has urged the Government to step up its efforts to free her brother amid claims Mr Halawa is witnessing torture every day in prison.