Birthday messages of support for imprisoned Ibrahim Halawa

Thousands of well-wishers have sent messages to a young Irish man, potentially facing execution in Egypt, as he spent a third birthday behind bars.
Birthday messages of support for imprisoned Ibrahim Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa is said to have endured “torture and inhumane treatment”, including regular beatings, while detained at the notorious Wadi Natrun prison, where guards are alleged to have used electricity and even crucifixion on inmates.

The Dubliner was just 17 when in August 2013 he was arrested by the Egyptian army as he took refuge in a Cairo mosque while Muslim Brotherhood protesters staged a “day of rage” outside.

Demonstrators took to the streets after their elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted from power in a military coup, leading to a crackdown ordered by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the country’s president.

It is feared that Mr Halawa, who was on his summer holiday in the Egyptian capital when violence flared, will face the death penalty when a mass trial of 494 alleged dissenters resumes tomorrow. The legal proceedings have been repeatedly delayed since 2013.

Human rights organisation Reprieve claims the teenager has described “experimental torture techniques” in messages sent to his family from the jail, where he marked his 20th birthday yesterday.

A birthday card organised by Reprieve and signed by more than 8,000 people was presented to the Egyptian embassy in London, although officials refused to accept it when it was delivered by hand on Saturday night.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “It is a total disgrace that Ibrahim Halawa is spending a third birthday behind bars in Egypt, awaiting a mass trial that makes a mockery of justice.

“It is plain to see that the Egyptian courts offer no hope of justice, just the real threat of a death sentence handed down en masse. The Irish Government and other countries that are closely allied with Egypt — including the UK — must urgently push for Ibrahim’s release, before it’s too late.”

According to Reprieve, the Egyptian government has sentenced nearly 600 people to death in the year

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