Sunday 27 May 2018

Amal Clooney to discuss plight of jailed teen before Oireachtas panel

Lawyer Amal Clooney
Lawyer Amal Clooney

The wife of Hollywood star George Clooney is to appear before an Oireachtas committee to discuss the plight of jailed Dublin student Ibrahim Halawa.

Amal Clooney's law firm, Doughty Street Chambers, represents Mr Halawa, who has been held in an Egyptian jail for three years.

Members of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday agreed to invite the firm to speak later this year.

The lawyers are expected to criticise the Government's response to the detention of Mr Halawa, who once again saw his trial postponed this month.

In a letter to the committee this week, his former cellmate, Australian journalist Peter Greste, said the Tallaght man is in "no way a violent terrorist" or a "threat to any society".


Mr Greste was one of three Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt in 2014 on terrorism charges.

During his incarceration, he shared a cell with 20-year-old Mr Halawa.

Mr Greste said the Irish Government needs to do much more to ensure his release.

"I know there has been much public debate in Ireland around Ibrahim's motives and his family's background," he wrote.

"Although I was not in Rabaa Square when Ibrahim was arrested, everything I learned about him in prison suggests that while he might be an idealistic young man with strong political ideals, he is in no way a violent 'terrorist', much less a threat to any society.

"I saw nothing to substantiate any of the allegations against him.

"Secondly, his ethnic origins have obscured the far more important need to address the way Ibrahim's most basic rights as an Irish and European citizen have been denied."

Mr Halawa's case has been raised repeatedly by members of the Oireachtas, including Fianna Fail senator Mark Daly, Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan and Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy.

Committee member and Fianna Fail senator Mark Daly criticised Egyptian ambassador Soha Gendi, who has declined to appear before the committee.

"It is an outrageous affront to the Irish people and the plight of Ibrahim," he said.

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