Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (24)

Olivia Mitchell


24. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the action that has been taken on the release of an Irish citizen (details supplied) who is imprisoned in Egypt; if further pressure on the Egyptian Government to obtain their release is possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23684/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I wish to inform the Deputy that I have raised my concerns at this individual’s continued detention without trial with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, on 11 November and 23 December 2013. In addition, the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo has been in sustained and direct contact with the Egyptian authorities in relation to this case. Our Ambassador Isolde Moylan and her colleagues in Egypt have met with and continue to liaise with senior officials from the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Justice, and the office of the Prosecutor General.

From the beginning, the Consular Section in my Department has been actively liaising with the family of this individual and the Head of Consular Section 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. Also, the Embassy in Cairo has been allowed regular consular access to this individual and consular visits were made by the Embassy 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 5 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.

Furthermore, 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, as you will be aware, the individual named is still before the judicial system in Egypt and we are precluded from getting involved in the judicial process. Let me assure you that I continue to remain seriously concerned at the continued detention of this individual and have directed that the Irish Embassy and the Consular Assistance Section at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continue to give all appropriate consular assistance.