Please clarify - Ibrahim Halawa acquitted

IBRAHIM Halawa is an Irish citizen who has spent four years in an Egyptian jail, though he was not convicted of anything.

The decision yesterday, after 25 trial adjournments and many interventions to acquit him, is welcome. He was arrested, along with his sisters — Somaia, Fatima, and Omaima — on August 17, 2013, and hundreds of others in Cairo during protests against the military coup against then-president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ibrahim was 17 in 2013. His sisters were soon released and he is expected to be released within days.

It would be dishonest and dangerous to say the welcome his release provokes is equivocal. His association with the Muslim Brotherhood must colour it. That organisation’s long-standing objectives are diametrically opposed to the tolerance and inclusivity this society expects and cherishes.

On his return, Mr Halawa should clarify his relationship with that organisation and hopefully that will allow him lead a full and happy life in Ireland. We should not be apologetic or in any way reticent about asking for that clarification.

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