Halawa trial could conclude on Sunday

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Progress has been reported in the trial of Firhouse man Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt with the prosecution case set to end later this month.

Mr Halawa has been incarcerated in Cairo since his arrest at a demonstration in August 2013.

Since then every hearing scheduled to deal with his detention has been repeatedly adjourned and delayed.

Speaking yesterday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said:

“I welcome the indications that the trial is now progressing into its final stages. A team of official Irish observers will again be present in court for that hearing,

“The Irish Government cannot intervene in a case that is before the Egyptian courts.

“What we can do, and what we are doing, is redoubling our efforts to ensure that the Egyptian authorities fulfil the clear commitment which they have given us to resolve this issue as soon as the trial ends, and return Ibrahim Halawa to Ireland.”

Mr Halawa has gone on hunger strike during his imprisonment.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny wrote to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pleading for Mr Halawa’s release on humanitarian grounds.

Mr el-Sisi said he could be released, but only once the trial has run its course.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney says a number of witnesses were called and cross-examined at his trial in Cairo yesterday.

He has been told by observers that only five witnesses are still to be called for the prosecution side.

Those witnesses will be called on Sunday, after which the defence team will be able to bring forward its own case.