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Greater government intervention needed to free Ibrahim Halawa – McDonald

11 June, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD


Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald today called on Tánaiste Joan Burton to increase efforts in securing the release of Dublin teenager Ibrahim Halawa, who has been in an Egyptian jail for 2 years without trial.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Tánaiste, this morning we have learnt the deeply troubling news that a 19 year old Dublin boy has gone on hunger strike in an Egyptian Jail. Ibrahim Halawa was born in the Coombe. He went to Holy Rosary in Firhouse, then to Rockbrook in Rathfarnham. He studied for his Leaving Cert in Institute of Education.  He’s a Dubliner.

“He was only 17 when arrested - he never got to collect his Leaving Cert results. He has been detained for two years without trial. He is in an adult prison in an oppressive and cramped cell with 40 other people

“Every morning when he wakes up he hears the screams of people being tortured He himself has been beaten and Irish Consul in Egypt has witnessed his injuries. He has been denied medical attention.

“If convicted, Ibrahim faces the very real prospect of life imprisonment. Amnesty International has established beyond any doubt that Ibrahim Halawa is a prisoner of conscience. They firmly believe that he has been detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly.

“The Irish Government have at best been tepid in their approach in securing Ibrahim’s safety and freedom. They have not prioritised his safety, welfare and return. I have been speaking to members of family. They are not convinced or satisfied that the government have acted to secure his release. They are distraught and concerned for his physical safety and mental health.

“Tánaiste what would you if this was your child? You would go to hell and back to secure his release. You would be demanding that the Taoiseach pick up the phone and tell the Egyptian Prime Minister to release this Irish citizen

“That’s in fact what the Australian Prime Minister did to secure the release of Journalist Peter Greste, who shared a cell with Ibrahim. He intervened directly and decisively and secured the release of Peter Greste

“Without that level of intervention, this traumatic situation will drag on and on. So Tánaiste, will you today call on the Taoiseach to pick up the telephone to the Egyptian Prime Minister and demand categorically the immediate release of Ibrahim?”

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