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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Three Halawa sisters due to be released - but brother expected to face further hearing

Ibrihim Halawa, 17, with sisters Fatima, 23, Omaima, 21, and Somaia, 28, who are still in prison in Egypt
Ibrihim Halawa, 17, with sisters Fatima, 23, Omaima, 21, and Somaia, 28, who are still in prison in Egypt

THE three Halawa sisters, who have been detained in Egypt since August, are due to be released.

The Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said he welcomed the release of Somaia, Fatima and Omaima Halawa in a statement this afternoon.

However, their brother Ibrahim Halawa is expected to attend a further court hearing in Egypt.

The four family members are Irish citizens - and had been detained without a specific charge.

Mr Gilmore said in his statement: "I am very pleased to hear that Somaia, Fatima and Omaima Halawa have been released from detention in Egypt today.

“I telephoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Monday last to express my concern that the Halawa siblings had been kept in prison for almost three months without being charged with an offence.

“I also expressed the Government's hope and expectation that the situation would be brought to a satisfactory conclusion in the near future.

“Throughout their time in detention, our Embassy in Cairo has been in regular contact with them, visiting them in prison and providing consular assistance.

“I have been informed that Ibrahim Halawa will attend a further hearing in Egypt on Saturday.”

An older sister told RTE's News At One that they were expected a decision about their younger brother on Saturday.

"We were at the court today and they gave us the decision about the girls being released.

"Of course they’re not out yet – they will be out maybe tonight or maybe tomorrow.

"The decision was taken for them to be released – only the three girls."

The sibling said they were directed by the court to pay three thousand Egyptian pounds to the court for the release.

Their brother Ibrihim will appear before a Cairo court on Saturday.

According to the family member, a decision will be made on whether to release Ibrihim or detain him for another 45 days.

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