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Friday 15 December 2017

'I never stopped believing', says jubilant Ibrahim

The Irish citizen thanked his
The Irish citizen thanked his "beautiful family" for sticking by him. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

Ibrahim Halawa expressed how no words could describe the feeling of being free after spending four years behind bars.

For the first time since he was declared not guilty, the 21-year-old took to Facebook to express his relief and to thank his supporters.

"[It was] a painful journey that I never thought would end, but every time I lost hope, God would send me saviours."

The Irish citizen thanked his "beautiful family" for sticking by him. He also thanked Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan, who campaigned for his release following his arrest in 2014. He also expressed his gratitude to the Government and Amnesty International for their support.

"Thank you all so much for believing in me and never giving up," he wrote. "I had never stopped believing in my innocence and I was convinced because I helped people in need I would be helped."

Torture

Following the Egyptian court's verdict last week, Mr Halawa said the "torture, suffering and pain" he endured while locked up was finally at an end.

"Finally, this has all become a painful memory and I am so glad this is over. No words can describe freedom. Freedom can only be felt. Thank you, God, for everything. I'm coming home. I'm coming home."

While Mr Halawa was found innocent, he still remains in prison due to "logistical issues".

A source said that it was still not clear when the 21-year-old will be released.

"My understanding is that a delay in paper work is the reason why he's not been freed yet.

"Hopefully, it won't be much longer because he has already suffered so much as it is," said the source.

Mr Halawa's sister, Fatima, told RTE's Saturday With Claire Byrne that a process still has to take place where documents are sent to the prison.

Released

She said the family expects that he will then be released to a police station, where they will re-interview him one last time.

Ms Halawa said that hopefully then he will be released.

She said that she has not spoken to him since he was acquitted last Monday, but the family has heard that the documents for his release are on the way to the prison.

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