UN COMMUNICATE THEIR CONCERNS ON IBRAHIM HALAWA’S DETENTION TO EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT
On 17 August 2013, Ibrahim (then aged 17) was arrested along with hundreds of others who had sought refuge in a Cairo mosque from violent clashes between the security forces and protestors. He has been charged with serious offences, all of which he strongly denies. He now awaits his next court appearance on 29th June 2016, with 493 others, and if convicted he may face the death penalty. At the last hearing the clerk of the Court confirmed that on the 29th June 2016 (the next hearing) it would be confirmed who was to be convicted, and the various sentences passed.
Legal Submissions were made by Ibrahim’s Legal Team in July 2015 to the UN Special Rapporteur (“SR”) on Torture, SR on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, and Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In light of these submissions, it has been confirmed by the family that the United Nations Special Procedures have communicated their concerns directly to the Egyptian Government in respect of the numerous breaches of human rights and international law. Therein, it is asserted that Ibrahim is subject to treatment that constitutes torture under international law, is facing a mass trial which infringes upon the minimal standard expected of a fair trial and has been, and remains arbitrarily detained. Ahead of the 31st Session of the UN Human Right’s Council, a report was published1 which confirmed that Ibrahim Halawa’s case had been communicated to the Egyptian Government.
Therein, the UN Communication states:
“While awaiting a reply, we urge that all necessary interim measures, including Mr Halawa’s Bail or unconditional release, be taken to halt the alleged violations, prevent their re-occurrence, and in the event that the investigations support or suggest the allegations to be correct, to ensure accountability of any person responsible for such violations”
Darragh Mackin of KRW Law, the solicitor for Ibrahim, said:
“We warmly welcome the communication by the UN to the Egyptian Government on behalf of Ibrahim Halawa. The communication in many ways exonerates the family’s position, and the UN should be commended in tackling the alleged breaches of human rights and international law in Ibrahim’s case. We now urgently call upon the Egyptian Government to take the interim measures as stipulated by the UN, and release Ibrahim immediately.”
Ibrahim’s sister, Somaia Halawa, said:
“We are delighted that the UN have intervened, and communicated their concerns to the Egyptian Government. We have continuously campaigned for Ibrahim’s release, making it clear that we have concerns around his detention and inability to get a fair trial. We feel exonerated by the UN’s communication and now urge that Ibrahim is released and allowed to return back home to Ireland.”
Gavin Booth of KRW Law, said:
“We welcome the representations by the United Nations in this case. It is clear Ibrahim is being failed, as he is subject to an unfair system of law and immediate steps need to be taken to secure his release.
Notes for Editors:
1. Any queries should be directed to the family’s solicitor, Darragh Mackin, KRW Law, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +447976070023.
2. A copy of the Submissions made on Ibrahim’s behalf to the various UN Special Procedures are available upon request.
3. A copy of the UN Communication is annexed to this Press Release.
4. Ibrahim was arrested on 17 August 2013, when he and others were taking refuge in the al-Fateh Mosque in Cairo. His legal team have seen no evidence of him being involved in any violence. International observers, including from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who were present on 17 August have described unprovoked and unjustified violence by Egyptian security forces. Over 16 and 17 August it is understood that at least 97 people died, although estimates from Human Rights Watch put the number at minimum 120, using official data from the Egyptian Forensic Medical Authority.
5. Between 5 July and 17 August 2013, over 1,150 protestors were killed by police and army forces. A detailed one-year investigation by Human Rights Watch has concluded that the conduct of the Egyptian security forces in responding to the demonstrations involved the systemic and intentional use of excessive and lethal force in their policing, resulting in the killing of unarmed, peaceful protestors on an unprecedented scale: All According to Plan: The Rab’a Massacre and Mass Killings of Protestors in Egypt (August 2014), available at http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/egypt0814web_0.pdf In January 2015 the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urged for an end to the excessive use of force by Egyptian security personnel, accountability for the Egyptian security forces, and he called for the release of all those detained for protesting peacefully: Statement available at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49919#.VZFRZLnbJ9A
6. Ibrahim Halawa has been detained since his arrest on 17 August 2013 and has not been granted bail. He is accused along with 493 others on serious charges, which could result in life imprisonment or the death penalty. The mass trial is currently scheduled to start on 2 August 2015.