A judge in Egypt has walked out of a mass trial of hundreds of prisoners that includes an Irish teenager who was a juvenile when arrested.
Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen, has been held in a series of adult prisons in the capital without charge or trial since his arrest last August at the age of 17, in the turmoil that followed the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20723)
The Egyptian authorities have refused to accept proof that Mr Halawa was legally a juvenile at the time of his arrest, and have insisted on trying him as an adult. The charges against him remain unclear.
The hearing of over 480 adult prisoners began in a makeshift court at the notorious Tora prison complex yesterday (12 August). Mr Halawa’s family was denied entry, despite having been granted permission to attend.
After the names of some of the prisoners on trial were read out, the judge is reported to have announced he would no longer preside over the trial, and left the court, says the legal charity Reprieve.
Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, which is assisting Mr Halawa, said: “Today’s events show this ‘trial’ for the farce it really is. We’re now likely to see further chaos and even more delays, but Ibrahim’s illegal detention has already gone on too long. The Irish government and the European Union need to take urgent action to secure his immediate release, while calling for a fair trial for the hundreds of people arrested alongside him.”