Irish student enters fifth year of Egyptian detention

By agency reporter
August 18, 2017

A student from Dublin has entered his fifth year of detention in Egypt. Ibrahim Halawa, who was a juvenile when he was arrested, faces the death penalty.

Ibrahim was arrested in August 2013 as part of a crackdown on protests against the new government of Abdelfattah al Sisi. Ibrahim and hundreds of others were arrested, and jointly accused of responsibility for violence. Though he was just 17 – a juvenile – at the time of his arrest, Ibrahim faced the death penalty in a mass trial of 494 people. The trial at Wadi Natrun prison, expected to reconvene on Sunday (20 August 2017), has been postponed more than 30 times.

Thousands of people have been sentenced to death since President Sisi took power in 2013, and the government’s system of mass trials has faced criticism for failing to meet international standards. Defendants in Ibrahim’s trial have faced frequent delays and lack of access to lawyers, and many – including Ibrahim – have reported regular torture in prison. (

International human rights organisation Reprieve – which is assisting Ibrahim – has raised concerns over a European Union project that has seen approximately EUR10 million in training and support given to the Egyptian justice system.

Commenting, Director of Reprieve Maya Foa said: “A trial of hundreds of people at once is patently illegal under international law. Yet, four years on from Ibrahim’s arrest, he and nearly five hundred others are still stuck in a mass trial, facing the death penalty and exposed to torture in prison. It’s shameful that the EU is still providing assistance to Egypt’s judiciary while a European juvenile like Ibrahim is allowed to languish in hellish conditions. This assistance should be made conditional upon the release of Ibrahim – and now more than ever, the entire international community must urge the Egyptian government to end the abuses perpetrated against Ibrahim and many others.”

* Reprieve


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