Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Diplomatic Representation

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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163. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if there has been contact at official level recently with the Egyptian authorities on the continued detention of an Irish citizen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46697/14]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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There has been ongoing and regular contact at official and ministerial level since this individual’s detention began in August 2013. From the outset, the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo has had continuous contact with the Egyptian authorities in relation to the case. Contacts have included numerous meetings at Ambassadorial level with senior officials from the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Justice, and the office of the Prosecutor General. Embassy officials have also visited the individual in detention on over thirty occasions. I have met this individual’s family and given them assurances regarding the continued assistance of my Department. Separately, officials in the Consular Division of my Department remain in ongoing, regular contact with them and have discussed the case with representatives of the Egyptian Embassy here in Dublin.

I have raised this case through direct contacts with the Egyptian government and through the European Union, including the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. On my first day in office as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I called my Egyptian counterpart, Foreign Minister Shoukry, to raise the Government’s concerns about the continued detention of this individual and the importance of due process in his case. I have since discussed this case with Minister Shoukry on a number of occasions. I have emphasised that this individual was only seventeen when the alleged offences took place, and the necessity for him to return to Ireland as soon as possible to continue his studies for his Leaving Certificate examination. I have asked that the charges against this individual be reviewed, and that he be released and permitted to return home to Ireland.

Ireland is precluded from directly interfering with the judicial process in Egypt. This is a difficult case in a complex and challenging context.

However, our concern at the continued and lengthy period of detention continues to be raised with the Egyptian authorities in a clear and sustained manner, together with the critical importance of due process in this case. It is the Government’s view that this individual should not be tried as part of a group trial involving a large number of defendants and on the basis of group charges, but solely on the basis of specific evidence.

The trial of this individual and his co-accused which was scheduled to be heard on 1 December was postponed until 6 January 2015. The Ambassador in Cairo attended the court on 1 December, and met with the individual after the hearing. I would like to take this opportunity to assure the Deputy that my officials will continue to work on this case and to raise the issue with our counterparts in Egypt, with a view to securing a review of his case, his release and return to his family.


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