Sunday 26 March 2017

Halawa sisters claim online campaign to free brother blocked by Charlie Flanagan

Somaia and Khadija Halawa, sisters of Ibrahim Halawa, who is being detained in Egypt, pictured at their home in Firhouse, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Somaia and Khadija Halawa, sisters of Ibrahim Halawa, who is being detained in Egypt, pictured at their home in Firhouse, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

​​The sisters of the Irish teen currently detained in Egypt have claimed that their online campaign to free their brother has been blocked from the Twitter account of Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.

Ibrahim Halawa, the son of Ireland's most senior Islamic cleric, Sheikh Hussein Halawa, was arrested along with three of his sisters amid protests against a military coup in August 2013.

The sisters were released on bail after three months in custody and returned to Ireland. They have been campaigning for his release ever since and have set up the Facebook page 'Free Ebraheem Halawa'.

Yesterday, the sisters posted that Charlie Flanagan has blocked their Twitter feed following a recent trial review and subsequent tweets about Ibrahim under the hashtag #FreeIbrahim.

"We did not personally attack him or anyone else, we simply reminded him about Ibrahim. He clearly does not want to listen to what the people are saying and he is meant to be in a position of power to do so.

"This is utterly disgraceful and dismissive. Why are they choosing to completely ignore Ibrahim's suffering now?," read the post.

Credit: Facebook/Free Ebraheem Halawa
Credit: Facebook/Free Ebraheem Halawa

The Department of Foreign Affairs told independent.ie that Minister Flanagan "has engaged actively and remains committed to taking all appropriate action to achieve a positive outcome". 

"Minister Flanagan is clear on our two objectives:  firstly, to see Ibrahim Halawa released by the Egyptian authorities so that he can return to his family and his studies in Ireland, and secondly to provide consular support for his welfare while he remains in detention," read the statement.

However, the department said that the minister "does not consider Twitter to be the appropriate forum to discuss consular cases".

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