Mass trial hearing this Sunday for Peter Greste’s young Irish cellmate

February 6, 2015

An Irish teenager held in the same prison cell as Peter Greste will appear in a Cairo court on Sunday (8th) in a mass trial of nearly 500 prisoners facing potential execution.

Ibrahim Halawa, from Dublin, was 17 and on holiday in August 2013 when he was caught up in Egypt’s sweeping military crackdown on protests. Now 19, he is in prison in Cairo awaiting trial as an adult alongside 493 other prisoners, on largely identical charges relating to the protests.

Mr Halawa had been sharing a cell in Tora prison with Mr Greste before the Al Jazeera journalist was freed this week. Repeatedly abused during his 2-year detention, he has reportedly been told by prison guards that he will be executed, and that his “European passport” will not save him.

Previous hearings in Mr Halawa’s mass trial have been postponed amid chaotic scenes in the courtroom.

Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, which is assisting Mr Halawa, said:

“This mass trial shows that there can be no illusions about Egypt’s continued crackdown, despite the release of Peter Greste this week. The attempt to try at once nearly 500 people, including minors, on identical capital charges makes a mockery of justice – as does the sentencing to death of 183 people one day after Mr Greste’s release. If the Sisi government is serious about reversing the injustices of the last two years, it must halt these trials, and release Ibrahim Halawa and the many hundreds like him.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 7792 351 660  / alice [DOT] gillham [AT] reprieve [DOT] org [DOT] uk

2. The hearing is expected to take place on Sunday February 8th at approximately 10am local time (8am UK) at the Tora prison complex, Cairo.

3. Further background on Ibrahim Halawa’s case can be found here.