herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

'It's my duty to speak up for missing student Ibrahim,' reveals worried teacher

Cody Preston pictured at his City West home yesterday.
Cody Preston pictured at his City West home yesterday.
Ibrahim Halawa

The teacher of jailed teenager Ibrahim Halawa has said he would not be a good role model for his students if he did not speak out about his ordeal.

Cody Preston taught science to Ibrahim (19) for four years at Rockbrook Park Secondary School in south Dublin.

“As a teacher I like to think I’m a role model for my students, and as teachers we’re always telling students to do the right thing,” he told the Herald.

“I think as a good citizen it wouldn’t be right for me to say nothing when I think that something is wrong.

“In that regard, it’s important that people should stand up for others when they need it.”

Dublin-born Ibrahim faces charges of murder and attempted murder in a group trial alongside 493 others.

Ibrahim.jpg  

He was arrested at a protest in the Egyptian capital 18 months ago and his trial has since been postponed four times.

“If this young man that I shared a classroom with for four years is put to death or spends his life in prison following an unfair trial on unfair charges, how can I stand in front of my students for years to come and claim to be somebody they should listen to and who does the right thing?” said Mr Preston.

He described Ibrahim as a “friendly” student, adding that it was “surreal” that he was still in prison.

“I’d always remember him as being very cheerful, he had a great sense of humour,” he said.

“He was popular with everyone and he was an average student in that he was no different to anybody else – an Irish kid with a Dublin accent.”

Mr Preston said he is worried that Ibrahim could be sentenced to death and feels the time has come for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to get involved.

“What his family are calling for is for the Taoiseach himself to step in and directly contact his Egyptian counterpart and that’s what I’d be asking for as well,” he said.

“An Australian citizen has been freed because their countries secured a presidential pardon and as far as I know Ireland hasn’t even asked for that.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said it is “unfair” to suggest his department is not doing all it can.

“Any assertion that the department is treating Ibrahim’s case less favourably than how it might treat another Irish citizen is utterly untrue,” he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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