'It's total nonsense' - Ibrahim Halawa addresses rumours he ripped up his Irish passport

'It's total nonsense' - Ibrahim Halawa addresses rumours he ripped up his Irish passport

IBRAHIM Halawa has addressed rumours he ripped up his Irish passport while protesting in Egypt. 

Mr Halawa returned home in October for the first time since 2013, when he was jailed in Cairo aged 17 during mass protests against then-President Mohamed Morsi.

The 21-year-old was acquitted of all charges in September but wasn’t able to return home for a number of weeks.

The freed Irishman spoke to Matt Cooper on Today FM's The Last Word earlier this evening where he spoke about his time in prison and since his release.

Speaking directly about comments made in relation to the then 17-year-old destroying his passport at a protest in Egypt he said: "I actually don't know how that story got around, [my passport] is with the Egyptian Government.

"When I was detained they said I had to have something to prove I was an Irish citizen, so they took it away from me and said we'll keep it with your file of your charges and of your case.

"They said I was able to get consular visits with the Irish passport so they took it.

"I was 17 and walking around with it because that was the only ID I had at the time."

Mr Halawa said he has since been trying to retrieve it from Egyptian authorities.

"I've been trying to get it back, and the Irish Embassy in Egypt are trying to get it back."

"I didn't tear up my passport, that's total nonsense to whoever spread that rumour," he said.

Mr Halawa also said he's 'as Irish as can be.'

"I was born in The Coombe, I've lived in Firhouse my whole life. I've played Gaelic, I've played rugby, I've played hurling, I'm as Irish as can be. "

"It's amazing [to be back in Ireland], I can't explain to you as much as it's hard coping, it's beautiful to be back and living every moment of my life.

Mr Halawa, who was detained in an Egyptian prison during the summer after his leaving cert in 2013, said he hoped to start college next year, studying computing and business.