Irishman Ibrahim Halawa jailed in Egypt: ‘1,000 days like 1,000 years’

Nosayba and Somaia Halawa, sisters of Ibrahim Halawa, on Grafton St, Dublin, yesterday. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA

A 20-year-old Irish man jailed in Egypt for the last 1,000 days, as he awaits trial and a potential death penalty, has said his incarceration has felt like 1,000 years.

Ibrahim Halawa’s family and supporters are holding an awareness day on Dublin’s Grafton St to allow people to see pictures of him and to learn about his detention.

Arrested in Cairo, aged just 17, in the midst of protests over the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim has been held for three years and is due to face justice as part of a mass trial in late June.

To mark the 1,000 days, his family have released a section of a letter Ibrahim wrote to them in the last week.

He wrote: “One thousand days with 1,000 different stories. Sadly, not the type of joy, laughter and smiles. But, rather, the type full of suffering, pain, torture, tears, abuse, suicide, and death.

“One thousand days that have felt like 1,000 years. Not only for me, but for hundreds behind bars.

“One thousand days for something I believe: people should be able to live just as I do back home, in a free, democratic country.

“One thousand days and 1,000 more, if it takes to be free. Some have lost hope and written THE END on their story, but I leave many blank pages to be filled.”

Pic: Amnesty International Ireland
Pic: Amnesty International Ireland

The Halawa family insist his imprisonment is unlawful and unjust.

One of Ibrahim’s sisters, Somaia, said: “We want to come together to show Ibrahim our support and that we haven’t forgotten him.

“We also want to call on an end to this nightmare. We call on more serious, and assertive, action to be taken to help free Ibrahim.”

The Halawas insist that Ibrahim has been jailed without a fair trial and no adequate access to a lawyer, and claim he has been electrocuted, beaten, spat on, and moved without his family’s knowledge. They have also criticised the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs for what they claim is a “softly, softly” approach by diplomats with Egyptian authorities.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has ordered talks, amid the controversy of Ibrahim being moved from prison to prison, and sent Ireland’s ambassador to Egypt, Damien Cole, to discuss the matter with officials in Cairo. He has also brought in the Egyptian ambassador, Soha Gendi, in Dublin, as part of the diplomatic process.

Ibrahim’s family have set up an information stall on Grafton Street to create awareness of his plight.

Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin MEP and one of their most vocal supporters, called on Ireland to seek Mr Halawa’s release under a “presidential decree”.

“I am asking the incoming government, and, in particular the new independent ministers, to intercede on Ibrahim’s behalf.”


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