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Ibrahim Halawa: Irish teenager 'at risk of torture' in Egypt

Ibrihim, Fatima, Omaima and Somaia Halawa Image copyright PA
Image caption Ibrihim, Fatima, Omaima and Somaia Halawa were caught up in the mosque siege

Amnesty International has warned that an Irish teenager who has been held without trial in Egypt for more than 19 months could be "at risk of torture".

Ibrahim Halawa, the son of Ireland's most senior Muslim cleric, has been in jail since August 2013, when he got caught up in the Cairo mosque siege.

He faces a mass trial and a possible death penalty with 493 other detainees.

Amnesty has described him as an Irish prisoner of conscience and expressed "deep concern" for his welfare.

On Sunday, his trial was postponed for a fifth time and the campaign group has described it as a "travesty of justice".

At the time of his arrest, the Dublin-born teenager was 17 and was on a family holiday to his parents' native country.

'Psychological torture'

Mr Halawa and three of his sisters were caught up in a mass anti-government protests the Al-Fath mosque siege.

The siblings said they took shelter in the building during violent clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and the security forces.

The sisters were freed after a few months, but their now 19-year-old younger brother remains in jail, despite protests from the Irish government.

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland said: "The detention conditions he is being reportedly held in amount to psychological torture given he would be surrounded by prisoners sentenced to death and waiting to be executed.

'Harsh'

"Added to this is the psychological impact of being held in a cell which has housed prisoners who were subsequently executed."

Mr O'Gorman said the teenager's conditions and treatment in detention "fall far short of international law standards".

"Egypt's prison environment is harsh and there are grave concerns about the conditions and treatment of prisoners there," he added.

During Sunday's court hearing, Mr Halawa's trial was adjourned until 26 April.

The Irish ambassador to Egypt, Isolde Moylan, was present for the hearing.

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