herald

Wednesday 29 March 2017

'Time running out' to save Ibrahim's life in hunger strike

Ibrahim’s health is failing
Ibrahim’s health is failing

The family of Ibrahim Halawa has said "time is of the essence" to save his life as he continues his hunger strike in an Egyptian jail.

Firhouse man Ibrahim (21) has been locked up in the North African country since his arrest at a protest in August 2013.

His case has been adjourned 19 times and Ibrahim's family is begging the Government here to urgently intervene as his health is deteriorating.

They claim guards at the Cairo jail where he is being held had to bring him out for his weekly visit from his aunt in a wheelchair on Tuesday.

In a statement yesterday, the Halawa family said: "We ask our Government to urge the Egyptian government to release Ibrahim on humanitarian grounds. We hold the Egyptian and Irish governments fully responsible if something was to happen to Ibrahim physically or mentally.

"Ibrahim's current blood sugar is 39, his hunger strike continues and, as a result, he was placed in solitary confinement as a punishment for refusing to take glucose.

"Time is of the essence to save Ibrahim's life."

Priority

Speaking last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said the welfare of the 21-year-old is his "top priority".

"The case of Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen detained in Cairo, remains my top priority," said Mr Flanagan.

"In terms of consular services, I am concerned that this matter be resolved. Again, at the earliest opportunity, that our diplomatic efforts continue.

"I want to acknowledge the fact that, during the course of a recent hearing, medical opinion was sought.

"And I understand that these medical tests are currently underway.

"We are in contact with the authorities in Egypt. I am very anxious that the best medical treatment be made available to Ibrahim Halawa and that his health and welfare concerns are paramount.

"My understanding is that he is receiving treatment in accordance with a decision of the court, which I understand stems from an application on his own part to be medically examined.

"I have raised this issue on numerous occasions in recent times and, while I would like to see the trial completed and Ibrahim returned home, in the meantime, while he remains in detention, his health and welfare is paramount."

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