Trial of Irish-Egyptian teenager to take place in Cairo today

Ibrahim Halawa, left, with his sisters Somaia, Fatima and Omaima

The sister of an Irish teenager facing trial in Egypt today wants the Government here to call for his release.

Eighteen-year-old Ibrahim Halawa is one of around 100 people set for trial in Cairo today. He is accused of a number of charges including belonging to a terrorist organisation, murder and torching a police station, and has been in custody for nearly a year.

Representatives of the Irish Embassy have been given permission to attend court today.

Ibrahim's sister Nusayba however said that calling for a fair trial isn't enough, and the Irish Government should be doing more.

She said the family is facing an anxious wait today, as his solicitor has told them that he could face a sentence of anything from six months' imprisonment to the death penalty.

"He (the solicitor) said that under a normal law he (Ibrahim) wouldn't spend a minute in prison.

"But we are under a coup law now and everyone is guilty even if you are innocent - it's all political.

"He doesn't know how it is going to go."

Ibrahim and Nusayba are children of Sheikh Hussein Halawa, who is imam at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in south Dublin. The family have lived in Ireland since 1996 and are Irish citizens.

Members of the Halawa family were on holiday in Cairo in August 2013 when they were taking part in a protest by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, which turned violent.

Ibrahim and three of his sisters were detained after the al-Fath mosque in which they had taken refuge was stormed by security forces of the interim military-led administration, which were engaged in a crackdown against members of the Morsi-aligned Muslim Brotherhood.

Ibrahim's sisters Somaia, Fatima and Omaima were held for three months before being freed and allowed to return to Ireland. However Ibrahim was ordered to face trial.

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