Lawyer refused access to Court by Egyptian Authorities
The Egyptian authorities today refused Darragh Mackin, lawyer for Ibrahim Halawa, access to the hearing scheduled to take place in a purposely designed Court inside Cairos Wady al natroon prison.
Lawyers Darragh Mackin and Gavin Booth, from the Human Rights firm KRW LAW LLP, based in Belfast, travelled to Egypt for the purposes of the trial scheduled to take place in Cairo this morning. Upon reaching the entrance to the Court the legal team were told that they were no longer permitted access to the Court, and were refused access at the gate. Lynn Boylan MEP had also travelled to the Purpose built Court for Mr Halawa’s mass trial, in which 494 are accused. She was also refused access to the Court.
After an hour, the Egyptian authorities gathered Mr Halawa’s family to tell them that they too, would no longer be allowed to enter the Court either and instead forced the families and legal representatives to stand in over 35 degree heat until the conclusion of the hearing.
After a brief hearing Mr Halawa’s case was adjourned again until 4th October, a further adjournment of 2 months, in a case which has been ongoing since August 2013.
Speaking from outside the walls of Wady al natroon as he was refused access to the hearing, Mr Halawa’s Irish solicitor, Darragh Mackin of KRW Law LLP, said, ‘Not allowing a lawyer to access his client’s hearing is gravely concerning and belies any suggestion that fair trial requirements are being met. Our client, Ibrahim Halawa, has now been held for almost 2 years without trial. We are concerned that there has been yet another delay, this time of a further 2 months. Ibrahim was aged 17 when arrested – he is now 19. Time is of the essence. We call on the Irish Government to work with the family to secure his swift release and return to Ireland.’
Somaia Halawa said, ‘Ibrahim will yet remain unjustly detained for another two months. Every time the Egyptian criminal justice system proves itself to be nothing more than oppressive. Ibrahim’s lawyer Darragh Mackin travelled all the way from Ireland to Egypt to witness Ibrahim’s trial but today the new judge decided not to allow any of the family, Lynn Boylan MEP or Ibrahim’s lawyer to enter. The Halawa family are calling on the Irish government to realise that justice will not prevail in Egypt and to use the presidential decree that allows Ibrahim to return back home.’
Notes for editors:
1. Any queries should be directed to the family’s solicitor, Darragh Mackin, KRW LAW LLP, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +447704034143. He is also available on twitter at @darraghmackin.
2. Ibrahim Halawa and his family are represented on all Irish and international law matters by solicitor Darragh Mackin, KRW LAW LLP, and barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher, Katie O’Byrne and Mark Wassouf, Doughty Street Chambers.
3. 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 was scheduled to start on 2 August 2015.
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. 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.