Saturday 21 October 2017

Teen languishing in Cairo prison feels abandoned

Ibrahim Halawa
Ibrahim Halawa
Joanna Kiernan

Joanna Kiernan

AN IRISH teenager in jail in Egypt - who shared a prison cell with the Al Jazeera journalist freed earlier this week - has written from his cell to criticise the response to his plight.

Ibrahim Halawa (19) was just 17 when he was arrested alongside his three older sisters in Cairo in August of 2013, after a day of protest turned violent following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

"For the past year and a half I have been in prison for no reason. No evidence has been brought against me to prove otherwise," he wrote in a letter to the Irish government.

"I was able to fight through it because, having been born and raised in Ireland, I was certain that if I am innocent, the Irish government will always provide my rights and protect me... It made me very proud to be both Muslim and Irish."

However, Ibrahim, who shared a cell with journalist Peter Greste during his detention, goes on to ask if more would be done to end his ordeal if his skin were a different colour, if he had a more Irish name or if he practised another religion.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said that there has been "ongoing and regular contact at official and ministerial level with Ibrahim and with his family in Ireland" and that the Irish Embassy in Cairo has contact with the Egyptian authorities.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News