Government determined to see the release of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa after four years in Egyptian prison

Government determined to see the release of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa after four years in Egyptian prison

THE Irish Government has said it is determined to see the release of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa after four years in an Egyptian prison. 

Ibrahim Halawa, 21, and originally from Dublin, has been detained in the Cairo prison since August 2013 when he was visiting family with his three sisters.

At the time, the north African country was in a state of unrest and the siblings took refuge in a Mosque in Cairo when Ibrahim, then aged 17, was arrested alongside his sisters.

While the women were released from prison in November 2013, Mr Halawa remains imprisoned.

On the fourth anniversary of the detention of Mr Halawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said he 'reaffirms his determination' to see the young man's release.

"I want to reaffirm my determination and that of the Irish Government to seeing this young man released from prison in Egypt and returned to his family in Dublin so that he can resume his life and his studies.

"I welcome the fact that, earlier this month, Ibrahim finally had his day in court and his opportunity to defend himself against the charges that he faces, and I note that the group trial in which he is a defendant seems finally to be drawing to an end.

"I look forward to the conclusion of the judicial process, and to a resolution of this long-running and complex issue," he added.

"I am sending a personal message to Ibrahim Halawa expressing solidarity with him, encouraging him to stay strong and hopeful, and renewing the Government’s promise to him that we will continue to do everything possible to ensure that he is able to return home as soon as possible."

A protest was help the week outside the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin, organised by Mr Halawa's family and Amnesty International to call for the young man's freedom.

Writing on their Facebook page, his family said: "Four years is too long for someone who is innocent. Four years is too much for our brother, the 17-year-old boy who has become a man locked away from the world, from his family, from his friends."

Director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O'Gorman said: "Ibrahim is a Prisoner of Conscience. He has spent four years imprisoned in Egypt, when he should rightfully be at home in Dublin with his family, friends and loved ones.

"His ongoing detention is an inexcusable violation of both international and Egyptian law.

"Given the length of his imprisonment and the horrific circumstances of his detention, Amnesty International continues to be gravely concerned for both his mental and physical wellbeing.

"We reiterate our call that the Egyptian authorities drop all charges against Ibrahim and order his immediate and unconditional release.

"We also urge the Irish Government to continue working on his behalf and to use every means at their disposal to secure his release."