CAIRO – Egypt's Foreign Ministry says that the European Parliament's call for the release of an Irish-Egyptian teenager detained at a protest two years ago amounts to "a violation of the independence" of its judiciary.
Friday's statement comes a day before Ibrahim Halawa stands trial alongside 494 defendants charged with murder and vandalism. The defendants were arrested in a 2013 protest against the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the violent dispersal of a sit-in by his supporters in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiyah square.
The ministry dismissed allegations that Halawa was tortured in custody and is on hunger strike. It refuted Europe's claim that he may face the death penalty, saying that Egyptian law does not impose capital punishment on offenders under 18. Halawa was a minor when he was arrested.