herald

Friday 18 August 2017

TDs visit jailed Ibrahim and plead for end to hunger strike

Ibrahim was in good spirits
Ibrahim was in good spirits

A group of TDs has visited Ibrahim Halawa in an Egyptian prison and pleaded with him to end his hunger strike.

The eight TDs, led by Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail, met with Ibrahim for more than an hour yesterday and urged him not to give up hope.

The Dubliner (21) has been in prison for more than three years without trial after being arrested during a Cairo demonstration against the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013.

The TDs will raise his case today with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Mr O Fearghail told the Herald that, despite his hunger strike, Ibrahim is "in good spirits".

"Before Christmas he felt unwell and collapsed and came off a previous hunger strike and then went on it again quite recently," he said.

Frustration

"Every member of the delegation was at pains to encourage him to desist from that approach."

Mr O Fearghail said Ibrahim has "deep frustration that matters hadn't been resolved".

"He repeatedly said all he wants to do is to return home," he said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who is also on the trip, said: "He's been to court 17 times and not had a trial."

He added that the TDs' message was: "Keep up hope. Don't give up."

Mr O Fearghail said the delegation expects to meet the president today.

"We'll be pleading with him to recognise our concern about a young Irish citizen, a child at the time of what has been alleged and we'll be appealing to him to release him under whatever mechanism he decides to use."

Mr Ryan said Ibrahim's family is "calling for his return and the Irish parliament is saying the same".

"We hope the Egyptian authorities will be able to make that happen," he said.

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