Adams calls on Kenny to intervene directly on Halawa case
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has written to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to ask him to intervene directly with the Egyptian Prime Minister and President over the case of an Irish citizen who is now on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison.
Speaking at a meeting in Dublin this evening, which selected Mary Lou McDonald TD as the Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin Central at the next General Election, Gerry Adams said:
“I have written to the Taoiseach today to ask thing to intervene directly with the Egyptian Prime Minister and President over the case of an Irish citizen who is now on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison.
“Ibrahim Halawa has been awaiting trial for almost two years in an Egyptian prison. He has now gone on hunger strike. This development has emerged in a smuggled letter which also detailed this young Dubliner’s fears of torture and abuse at the hands of prison guards.
“Mr. Halawa’s family are increasingly concerned for his mental wellbeing after his case was adjourned earlier this month for the seventh time.
“Ibrahim was born in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin. He went to the Holy Rosary school in Firhouse, and then to Rockbrook in Rathfarnham.
“He was 17-years-old at the time of his arrest. He is now 19. He did his Leaving Certificate in June 2013 and went to Egypt on holiday. He and his three sisters were among those arrested after taking refuge in a mosque during protests in Cairo.
“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. Yet, if convicted, he could face life imprisonment. The next court date has been set for August 2nd.
“Ibrahim’s family feel the Irish Government’s approach to securing Ibrahim’s safety and freedom has been ineffective. They are not satisfied that the Government has acted to secure his release. They are naturally distraught and now increasingly concerned for his safety and welfare.
“It is imperative that the Irish Government exerts top-level pressure on Cairo to secure Ibrahim’s release. It is my firm belief that the Taoiseach needs to make direct contact with the Egyptian President and Prime Minister to appeal to them to release this Irish citizen.
“This is exactly what Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott did to secure the release of Journalist Peter Greste, who shared a cell with Ibrahim. Prime Minister Abbott intervened directly and decisively and secured the release of Peter Greste. Without a similar intervention by the Taoiseach in this case, this tragic human rights issue will deteriorate further.”