Wednesday 26 October 2016

Amnesty slams ambassador's 'farcical' statement on Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa is in a Cairo jail
Ibrahim Halawa is in a Cairo jail

Amnesty International have branded comments by the Egyptian ambassador to Ireland about the imprisonment of Ibrahim Halawa as "farcical."

Fresh allegations have emerged surrounding the conditions under which the Tallaght teen is being detained in a Cairo prison.

The Dubliner - who has spent some 900 days behind bars awaiting trial - has told human rights organisation Reprieve that some prisoners were being tied up naked in a crucifix position.

He also said others had been electrocuted using pools of water to increase the pain.

Mr Halawa's sister Somaia told the Herald that their latest visit had made them worry for their brother's mental health.

Ms Somaia has said her brother's head had been shaved, all of his books had been confiscated and said the small windows in his cell door had been glued shut.


It has also been alleged that Mr Halawa (19) is regularly beaten with rubber bars, and has been singled out by one senior guard for particular abuse.

Responding to the claims last year, Egypt's newly-installed Ambassador to Ireland said Mr Halawa's allegations were "false."

"Ibrahim's lawyers allegations that he has been beaten and tortured while in prison are false," said Soha Gendi.

"Defence teams of the accused need to stop making this a human rights case, because it's not. It's a clear case of terrorism and if they don't stop the propaganda campaigns and start dealing with the evidence they are not going to be able to help the accused."

Ms Gendi defended Mr Halawa's imprisonment, but stressed that justice would be done.

"It is a very serious terrorism case, in which many have been involved, it led to the death and injury of many Egyptians. Justice should be applied to everyone, unless those who call for his freedom think that some people are better than others," she said.

Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O'Gorman said the ambassador's claims were not credible.

"The ambassador's statement, which suggests that torture is not an issue in Egypt is simply not credible," he said.

"To then suggest that Ibrahim Halawa will face a fair trial is farcical."

Mr Halawa faces a mass trial along with 493 others, and his trial has been postponed on 12 occasions so far.

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