For Immediate Release
Reprieve's press office: + 44 (0) 207 553 8161 / alice [dot] gillham [at] reprieve.org.uk
Irish Teen Cellmate of Al Jazeera Staff Faces 10th Hearing in Egypt 'Mass Trial'
WASHINGTON - An Irish teenager facing a death sentence in Egypt is expected to face the latest hearing in a ‘mass trial’ involving 494 prisoners this Sunday (4th).
Ibrahim Halawa, from Dublin, was a juvenile when he was arrested in August 2013 in the turmoil surrounding protests in Cairo against Egypt’s military government. He has been held since in a series of adult prisons, where he reports that torture and other mistreatment is common. He is being tried as an adult in the mass trial, in contravention of Egyptian and international law. He faces a death sentence if convicted.
The latest hearing in the frequently-postponed mass trial will be held at Wadi Natrun prison, in the wake of a pardon for a group of Al Jazeera journalists with whom Ibrahim once shared a cell. Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed received presidential pardons last week, and were released from detention. Their colleague Peter Greste, released several months ago, appears also to have been pardoned.
Speaking in March, Mr Fahmy said “Ibrahim Halawa is a decent, well-educated teenager who has committed no crime,” while Mr Greste has spoken of the “tough time” Ibrahim has had throughout his detention.
The controversial mass trial is one of several in Egypt that have been condemned by the UN, the US, the UK and others since President Sisi's government began a crackdown on protests in 2013. Hundreds of death sentences have been handed down to journalists, activists and others, while concerns have been raised about the fairness of trial proceedings.
Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “The ordeal of Ibrahim Halawa and his hundreds of co-defendants has gone on long enough. It is disgraceful that this ‘mass trial’ continues, and that the defendants face the death penalty for their mere attendance at a protest. Ibrahim and the other prisoners are also being horribly mistreated in prison, as they wait for any sort of justice to emerge from these Kafkaesque trial proceedings. Ibrahim has committed no crime, and this trial makes a mockery of justice – the Irish government, and other close allies of Egypt, such as the UK, must call urgently for his release.”
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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.