(Reprieve) – An Irish student who was a juvenile when he was arrested has been acquitted at an Egyptian mass trial, four years after his arrest at a protest.
Ibrahim Halawa from Dublin, was 17 when he was arrested with hundreds of other people in 2013, as part of a crackdown on protests in Egypt. He has been held in pre-trial detention since then, and has reported being regularly tortured.
Ibrahim was tried as an adult alongside 493 other people, despite having been a juvenile at the time of his arrest. The mass trial – one of several to have taken place since 2013 – was frequently postponed in the last four years. Hearings of the trial were criticised for failing to meet basic standards.
The Irish government has said it has received assurances from Egypt’s President Sisi that Ibrahim will be returned to Ireland following the verdict.
Maya Foa, Director of human rights organization Reprieve, which is assisting Ibrahim, said:
“Today’s verdict is long overdue. Ibrahim was arrested as a child for the ‘crime’ of attending a protest, tortured, and tried facing the death penalty alongside adults in an unfair mass trial. For years, these court proceedings – which were designed to punish political dissent – made a mockery of justice. The Irish government and others, like the UK, must now not rest until Ibrahim is at home in Ireland. The wider international community – including the EU, which helps to fund Egypt’s courts – must also call urgently on Egypt to end its use of patently illegal mass trials.”