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Amnesty International is campaigning for the unlawfully detained Ibrahim Halawa

I must respond to Edward Lynch’s outrageous letter regarding Ibrahim Halawa’s ongoing unlawful detention in an Egyptian prison (January 9).

Mr Lynch makes the scurrilous and frankly ridiculous allegation, based solely on an unnamed source, that Ibrahim was offered release and a flight home last summer but refused.

This is completely untrue. Anyone familiar with the terrible conditions in which Ibrahim is being detained would not repeat such gossip lightly.

A previous correspondent, Michael Moriarty (January 1), questions why Ibrahim did not avail of the “safe passage” arranged by the Irish ambassador.

In fact, Amnesty International’s researchers were on the ground in Cairo during the violent assault by the security services on the Al Fath mosque where Ibrahim and his three sisters were taking refuge.

They confirm that there was no reasonable prospect of safe passage. Moreover, a 17-year-old boy seeing the tear gas streaming into the mosque and hearing the sound of gunfire outside would have been terrified to leave.

Ibrahim Halawa is an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, based on our own research and eye-witness evidence that he could not have committed the violent crimes with which he has been charged.

He is being detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Ibrahim has now spent more than 28 months in prison in violation of both Egyptian and international human rights law. His continuing detention was recently condemned by a European Parliament resolution, supported by 98% of MEPs including all Ireland’s MEPs.

Amnesty International continues to be gravely concerned for his mental and physical wellbeing and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

It is time for Ibrahim, and his family’s, harrowing ordeal to come to an end.

Colm O’Gorman
Executive Director
Amnesty International Ireland
Fleet St, Dublin 2

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