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Holland calls for incoming government to make Halawa case a top priority

9 February, 2016 - by Sarah Holland

Mayor of South Dublin, Councillor Sarah Holland, has called for the incoming Irish government to make the release of Irishman Ibrahim Halawa from an Egyptian jail a top priority of its foreign affairs agenda. 

Councillor Holland, Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin South West in the General Election, said:

“Yesterday we welcomed Omaima Halawa, Ibrahim’s sister, to address our council meeting to call for renewed efforts to bring her brother home to Ireland. 

“Omaima spoke of Ibrahim’s struggle to maintain his resolve under such difficult circumstances. She also raised serious concerns about possible government involvement in the death of the young Italian PhD student, Giulio Regeni, who was found tortured and murdered in Egypt last week.

“Ibrahim has been held in an Egyptian jail without trial for more than two and a half years, since his arrest at a protest when he was 17 years old. He is due to be tried with almost 500 others on serious charges that amount to an attack on the right to free speech and freedom of assembly – but his trial has been postponed 10 times.

“According to Ibrahim’s legal team and rights groups such as Amnesty International, the Egyptian regime has committed numerous breaches of its obligations under international law. Ibrahim has endured torture, arbitrary detention, and denial of access to his lawyer. He is facing a life sentence and possibly even the death penalty.

“The South Dublin County Council has supported two previous motions, with all-party support, that call for Ibrahim’s human rights to be respected, and for his release from jail in Egypt – one passed in 2013 and one last year. Today we reaffirmed that support.

“The European Parliament in December passed a resolution calling for Ibrahim’s release with the support of all Irish MEPs and the overwhelming support of the Parliament as a whole. I was pleased to welcome Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan, who spearheaded that effort, to the Council today for Omaiama’s presentation.

Cllr Holland continued:

 “In South Dublin and Dublin County Councils, and in the European Parliament, we’ve seen cross-party support for this call, and moves were made towards an all-party motion to go through the Dáil before the break. 

“What was clear from today’s council discussion is that we can all put party politics aside in support of this young Irishman being brought home. The incoming Irish government – in particular the incoming Taoiseach and Foreign Minister – must make the resolution of this case their top priority.”

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