Government "concern and frustration" as Ibrahim Halawa trial postponed for the 16th time

Minister for Foreign Affairs claims government is "applying maximum pressure on Egypt" to secure the 20-year-old's release

Government "concern and frustration" as Ibrahim Halawa trial postponed for the 16th time

Ibrahim Halawa in prison | Image: Halawa family

Updated 15:45

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has expressed his "concern and frustration" after Irishman, Ibrahim Halawa’s trial was postponed for the 16th time in Egypt.

Mr Halawa was arrested in a Cairo mosque during demonstrations protesting the ousting of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in August 2013.

He and 493 other accused are now not due back in court until December 13th - his 21st birthday.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan said the government’s priority “remains to see this young man returned to Ireland and to his family as soon as possible.

“In light of today’s developments, we will be pursuing further contacts at the highest levels with Egypt to address Mr. Halawa’s continued detention and to again call for his immediate return to Ireland,” he said.

He said lawyers for Mr Halawa had submitted an application for the 20-year-old’s return to Ireland under Egypt’s Decree 140 law - a presidential decree that would allow him to return home pending a final ruling in the trial.

The law has been used in cases where a deportation or extradition would serve the “higher interest” of the Egyptian state.

Minister Flanagan said the Taoiseach has been in direct contact with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi asking him to give positive consideration to the application. 

"Our Embassy has been monitoring Ibrahim's health and welfare since his detention and Ambassador [Damien] Cole raised the issue with the Prison Governor on his last visit to the prison,” said Minister Flanagan.

“I welcome today's order by the Judges that Ibrahim receive a full examination and that this be reported back to the Court.”

Campaigners say the Dubliner's prolonged detention without trial and his treatment while behind bars amounts to torture.

“Today’s delay, the sixteenth, further prolongs Ibrahim’s horrific ordeal", said Fiona Crowley, Research and Legal Manager with Amnesty International Ireland. "The continuing imprisonment of this young Irish citizen is a violation of both international and Egyptian law."

Green Party Deputy Leader, Catherine Martin called it "an appalling and intolerable injustice".

He has been in prison for a total of 1,182 days.

Last month, Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland said the organisation remained "gravely concerned" for Mr Halawa's physical and mental wellbeing.

"Ibrahim’s only 'crime' was attending a peaceful protest and his continuing detention represents an inexcusable violation of both international and Egyptian law," Mr O’Gorman said.

Amnesty International Ireland today reiterated its call for Mr Halawa's immediate and unconditional release, and urged the Irish government to continue its work on his behalf.