The family of Irish Muslim Ebraheem Halawa is waiting anxiously for news of his impending trial in Egypt after a judge sentenced 529 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi to death.
Halawa is the son of Sheikh Hussein Halawa, imam at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Clonskeagh, Co Dublin.
The Irish Times reports that he is still waiting to have his case heard, more than seven months after he was detained in Cairo.
The 18-year-old student was arrested following clashes between supporters of Morsi and security forces.
His three sisters, Omaima, Fatima and Soumaia were also detained when they took refuge in Cairo’s Al Fateh mosque during clashes.
The girls, now back in Ireland, spent almost four months in detention before being released in November.
Ebraheem's sister Soumaia described the death sentence decision in a mass trial as ‘worrying’, particularly as their lawyers were not listened to in court.
She told the Irish Times, “We try our best with human rights groups like Amnesty but at the end of the day, it’s going to depend on who is his judge.
“We have heard where a student was sentenced to 14 years for being involved in a protest while other similar cases were getting between two and three years.”
Soumaia added that her young brother is keeping his spirits up, but the delay in having his case heard is affecting him.
She said, “It’s really getting into him now. At least if there was a hearing he would know but it’s not clear. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s just waiting.
“There is a hearing that should be scheduled any day now but we don’t know the day or the date. We are still waiting for that.
“It shouldn’t take that long. My mum and my older sister are over there. They see him once a week, or sometimes twice a week. It depends.”
Prison conditions in Egypt are chronic at the moment, although Ebraheem has been moved recently, she added.
“Conditions are so hard. At the start they were treated really bad. The prison officers used to hit them,” she said.
“But then parents started to make complaints about it. It hasn’t got worse so that’s something good.”
Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has said it continues to offer consular assistance to Halawa and his family.
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