Saturday 10 December 2016

Jailed teen Ibrahim 'could be home by end of year' ­- TD

Published 19/08/2015 | 02:30

Ibrahim Halaawa
Ibrahim Halaawa

Pat Breen TD has expressed hope that Irish student Ibrahim Halaawa will be allowed home from Egypt "before the end of the year, if not sooner".

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The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee will meet the Egyptian Foreign Minister in Cairo today as part of efforts to secure the release of the 19-year-old.

Speaking before he boarded a plane for Egypt yesterday, Mr Breen said the best approach was one of "quiet diplomacy".

He said lengthy delays in Mr Halaawa's trial are frustrating for his family and the Irish authorities. "But it is not straightforward. We can't interfere in the legal process of another country.

"We do feel he should be at home now with his family. I spoke to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan before I left Dublin and he is very supportive of the visit and I will give him a full report on my return."

During his two-day visit, Mr Breen will also meet the Egyptian Minister for the Interior and will visit Ibrahim in prison.

Ibrahim, from Firhouse in south Dublin, was arrested after a protest in August 2013 and has been held in several Egyptian prisons since.

Mr Breen told the Irish Independent one of his biggest concerns is Ibrahim's welfare.

"I met Ibrahim's sisters in Leinster House on Monday and they are concerned because he has respiratory problems, and the prison environment is not ideal. I am keen to see for myself how he is and to be reassured.

"The priority of the Irish Government is to do all it can to secure his release. We will continue in our efforts but we feel quiet diplomacy is the best approach." He said Ibrahim's sisters simply asked he bring to their brother "their smiles and all their love".

Irish Independent

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