For more than three years, the Egyptian government has been abusing the human rights of Ibraham Halawa, an Irish citizen being held in appalling conditions in prison to face what many experienced observers believe are trumped-up criminal charges.
The 20- year-old Dubliner has been in prison in Egypt for more than 1,000 days, having his trial postponed 14 times. It is little wonder that there is growing concern here among his family and friends for his well-being and safety.
Then Egyptian authorities have, up to now, ignored all polite diplomatic efforts taken by the Government in an effort to at least expedite his trial.
To add insult to injury, the Egyptian ambassador, Soha Gendi, has declined an invitation to appear before the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the case.
Halawa’s former cellmate, Australian journalist Peter Greste, was freed earlier this year after successful intervention by the Australian government.
There are tentative plans for a parliamentary delegation to travel to Egypt but, as the Oireachtas committee will not meet again until September 15, such an event is likely to be months away.
This young man’s case is beyond intolerable and only direct — and public — intervention by the Taoiseach is likely to make any real difference. There is not a moment to lose.
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