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Irish teen jailed in Egypt ‘beaten and tortured’

A DUBLIN Leaving Cert student imprisoned in Egypt is running out of time to get out safely, his family fear.

Ibrahim Halawa (18) is being held in an adult jail where he has been beaten and tortured, they said.

With more than 1,000 inmates already sentenced to death, the Halawas believe Ibrahim is at risk of the same fate.

They have appealed to Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore to increase pressure on the Egyptian authorities to have him released.

TORTURE

“He is currently experiencing horrific mental and physical torture within the prison and is denied medical help,” his sister Somaia said.

Ibrahim, the son of the Imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Clonskeagh, Sheikh Hussein Halawa, was arrested last August along with his three older sisters, Omaima, Fatima and Somaia, following a day of protests in Cairo.

They had travelled to the city from their home in Ballycullen, Co Dublin, for a holiday.

Ibrahim’s sisters were released in November but he remains in “deplorable conditions” in the Al-Marg jail.

Somaia added: “Ibrahim is in jail so every day you don’t know what is happening.

“He was punished and put in a cell by himself.”

Prisoners in solitary confinement “have to take off their clothes, there is no light, they are cold, there is no toilet”, she told

In a statement, the family urged Tanaiste and foreign affairs minister to take “urgent action to ask the Egyptian authorities for Ibrahim’s immediate and unconditional release”.

They added: “His family and friends are very concerned about his condition and well being.

“They are further concerned about the absence of due legal process in Egypt that showed its ugly face last month.

“In two mass trials, 1,212 men were sentenced to death by Egyptian judges in the absence of international litigation standards.

“With a hearing soon to be scheduled within a few weeks, Ibrahim’s family believes their youngest son is running out of time.

Death

“We are so scared as we don’t know what the outcome will be and we are hearing about all of these people being sentenced to death,” the family said.

Ibrahim sustained a bullet injury to his hand and was denied medical treatment resulting in a deformity, they added.

He has been accused of a “grab bag of ludicrous and untrue” offences and has been repeatedly denied access to his lawyer.

Ibrahim, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, was born and raised in Dublin.

He was taken into custody after taking refuge with his sisters at the al-Fateh Mosque in the Egyptian capital during protests against the ousting of former President Mohammed Morsi.

A spokesperson for Mr Gilmore said: “The Tanaiste has done everything he can possibly do to secure the release of Ibrahim.

“He is deeply disappointed at the lack of progress so far.”

The Department said it has responded to all of the requests made by the Halawa family.

It is understood efforts are being made to allow Ibrahim sit part of the Leaving Cert while in detention.

Irish consular officials in Cairo have facilitated ongoing meetings between Halawa family and Ibrahim, while direct contacts have continued between Mr Gilmore the Egyptian authorities.

comurphy@herald.ie


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