As reports come in from Cairo that the mass trial of 494 people, including Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa, has been postponed until 6 January, Amnesty International calls again on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the Irish teenager.
The trial is in relation to protests that took place on 16 and 17 August 2013, in Ramsis, Cairo where at least 97 people died, most of them as a result of a reckless use of force by the security forces.
More than 400 of the 494 defendants are charged with murder and attempted murder, offences that are normally punishable by death under Egyptian law.
The remainder are charged with offences including destroying public property,protesting without authorisation, attacking security forces and hindering the work of national institutions.
Among those on trial are 11 children and Ibrahim Halawa, an Egyptian Irish national, who was a 17-year-old child at the time of his arrest.
Amnesty International has conducted a thorough examination of his case and concluded that Ibrahim Halawa is a Prisoner of Conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
The organisation is calling for him to be released immediately and unconditionally, with all charges against him dropped.
“Ibrahim Halawa has now been in an Egyptian prison for 450 days awaiting trial. This is unacceptable”, said Colm O’Gorman Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.
“Amnesty International has established that Ibrahim Halawa is a Prisoner of Conscience. Our researchers have conducted a thorough examination of the case established that he is entirely innocent of the crimes with which he is being charged. Neither he nor his sisters were at the location of the alleged shooting, locked as they were in sanctuary of the Al Fath mosque.”
“Ibrahim’s only ‘crime’ was peaceful protest and exercising his right to freedom of expression.”
“We do not believe that Ibrahim or the other defendants can receive a fair trial in Egypt under the current circumstances. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.”
“This farce has continued for far too long. Unless he is released, Ibrahim will spend his 19th birthday in a jail cell in Egypt.”
“The Egyptian authorities must release Ibrahim Halawa immediately and all charges against him should be dropped unconditionally. We have not forgotten Ibrahim and will continue the campaign for his freedom until he is safe and well at home in Ireland”.
Colm O’Gorman also added: “All defendants enjoy the right to a fair trial without recourse to death penalty. Should the trial go ahead, all the defendants must be present in court in order to be able to hear and challenge the prosecution case and present a defence, in person or through a lawyer. They must be able to call witnesses on their behalf and to examine witnesses against them.”
Take Action to support Ibrahim by joining us outside the Egyptian Embassy, 12 Clyde Road, Dublin 4, on his 19th Birthday, Saturday, 13 December 2014 at 4pm.