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Minister Flanagan comments on today’s hearing in the Ibrahim Halawa case

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, has today made the following statement following developments in the court case in Cairo in which Ibrahim Halawa is a defendant along with more than 400 others.

Speaking from Belfast where he is engaged in political Talks, Minister Flanagan said: 

"I am disappointed and frustrated by a further adjournment in the court case in which Ibrahim Halawa is a defendant. Ibrahim has now spent more than thirteen hundred days and nights in an Egyptian prison cell without having been convicted of any crime.  This is a source of great concern to the Irish government.

Ireland’s Ambassador in Cairo, Damien Cole, and a team from the Embassy were once again in court today to observe the proceedings, as they have been at all of the hearings in the trial to date, and he has provided me with a report on today’s developments.

There were a number of witnesses called and cross-examined at today’s hearing, and petitions from defence lawyers were considered.  The presiding judge then adjourned the case for a further hearing on 5 April. The panel of judgesalso ordered that a further medical examinations should be undertaken in respect of Ibrahim Halawa.

The lack of clarity around Ibrahim’s health continues to be a serious source of concern. Following a Government review of the case earlier this week, officials are engaging with the Egyptian authorities to seek urgent clarification of our citizen’s medical condition and to secure assurances in relation to his access to appropriate treatment.

The Egyptian authorities have a clear responsibility to ensure Ibrahim Halawa’s welfare, and I and my Department have consistently underlined this in all contacts with Egyptian interlocutors. Indeed, I raised these issues again in my most recent face-to-face meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry when I met him earlier this month.

I am, at the same time, concerned at persistent reports that Ibrahim is on hunger strike.  I urge him in the strongest possible terms not to pursue such a course of action, and to protect his health in every possible way.  I also urge all parties who are in contact with him or who have influence with him to dissuade him from any actions that would be detrimental to his health."