Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (54, 60)

Clare Daly

Question:

54. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he has taken to secure the release of an Irish citizen (details supplied) who has been imprisoned for eight months in Egypt; if the EU will publicly demand their immediate release prior to the case going before the criminal courts and that the outrageous violation of their human rights be condemned. [22272/14]

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Pat Deering

Question:

60. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is satisfied that he is doing everything possible to secure the release of Ibrahim Halawa who remains imprisoned in Egypt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22748/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 60 together.

I wish to inform the Deputy that I have raised my concerns at his continued detention without trial with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, on 11 November and 23 December 2013. The Embassy of Ireland in Cairo has been actively liaising with the Egyptian authorities in relation to the case and contacts have included numerous meetings. Our Ambassador and her colleagues in Egypt have met with senior officials from the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Justice, and the office of the Prosecutor General. Consular officials in Dublin met with family representatives on 17 August, 19 September, 24 October and 16 December 2013, 16 January, 6 March and on 1 and 21 May 2014. Consular visits were made to this individual on 24 August, 8 September, 15 September, 10 October, 24 October, 30 October, 10 November, 21 November, 3 December and 18 December 2013 and 8 January, 26 January, 13 February, 23 March, 9 April and 7 May 2014.

In March 2014, the Minister for Justice wrote to the Egyptian Minister for Justice Abdel-Moneim Othman, raising the Government's concerns at the individual's continued detention and requesting the opportunity to speak about this case as soon as possible. I wrote to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Catherine Ashton, on 9 May 2014, asking that she raise her concerns on this individual's case in her contacts with the Egyptian authorities. The EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis raised this case with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, and the Prosecutor General, Hisham Barakat, during his visit to Cairo in February 2014.

However the individual named is still before the judicial system in Egypt and we are precluded from getting involved in the judicial process. The Irish Embassy and the Consular Assistance Section at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to give all appropriate consular assistance.