The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales has welcomed the news that Ibrahim Halawa has been released from prison in Egypt and has returned to his family in Ireland after being acquitted of all charges against him, following over four years in detention in Cairo.
Mr. Halawa was arrested as a 17-year-old child on 17 August 2014, after attending a peaceful protest in Cairo. He was charged, along with 493 other defendants for a range of serious offences including murder, a crime which carries the death penalty in Egypt.
The verdict in his case comes after more than 30 adjournments and delays, in circumstances where the Egyptian Government failed to produce any evidence to support the allegations against him.
Despite being acquitted of all charges against him on 18 September 2017, Ibrahim was only released, he was only released from prison on 20 October 2017. He arrived in Dublin on 24 October 2017.
BHRC has highlighted the multiple and significant breaches of international law in Ibrahim’s case. Our statement released in August 2016 highlights profound concerns about length of his pre-trial detention, the failure to grant him bail, the lack of prosecution evidence and inadequate protections of the right to a fair trial. BHRC called for the immediate release of Mr. Halawa from detention and his urgent transfer to Ireland.
BHRC Executive member, Grainne Melon who followed the case said:
“From his initial arrest, through his four years of unjustified detention, to his repeatedly delayed trial, Ibrahim Halawa’s case has raised serious concerns over Egypt’s respect for fair trial rights and its flawed justice system.
BHRC are delighted that Ibrahim is now back with his family in Dublin. However, the failings which allowed him to remain in detention for so long remain will continue to affect others unless and until systemic changes are made.
BHRC are aware of many other defendants within the Egyptian criminal justice system who are subject to excessive and punitive pre-trial detention. We call on the Egyptian government to urgently address the serious underlying concerns issues raised in this case and to protect the fundamental rights of those subject to criminal prosecutions in Egypt.”