Sunday 26 June 2016

'I've seen men crucified,' says hunger-striking Irish student Ibrahim Halawa

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 04/02/2016 | 10:41

Ibrahim Halawa
Ibrahim Halawa
Ibrahim Halawa
Dubliner Ibrahim Halawa

Dublin teenager Ibrahim Halawa, who is on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison today, has said fellow inmates are being tortured and “crucified”.

The 19-year-old has told a caseworker from human rights organisation Reprieve that some prisoners were being tied up naked in a crucifix position in the prison’s halls.

Others had been electrocuted using pools of water to increase the pain.

Ibrahim's sister Somaia told the Herald yesterday that his latest letter to his family in Dublin alleges that “experimental torture” is being carried out at the prison.

He said he was regularly beaten with rubber bars, and was singled out by one senior guard for particular abuse.

"Some prisoners were tied naked in a crucifix position in the prison's halls, while others had been electrocuted, using pools of water to increase the pain," he said.

He alleges that he had been stripped naked, sexually assaulted, whipped with metal chains and walked upon, and he said he has been held around the clock in a windowless cell with no natural light or fresh air

A spokesperson for Reprieve said: "He wakes up every morning to the screams of other prisoners being tortured. He says this is worse than any beating he has received."

In a letter that was smuggled out in November, he said: "This is a place where experimental torture is practised. This is a place where once you are in there is no way out."

“Words will never do justice to what happens in Egyptian prisons."

“Being in a mass trial will never grant me my freedom."

"I am not protesting for better conditions but to be released," he said.

“I really want to thank everyone who has supported me, because it is your help that will get me released.”

MayaFoa,the directorof the death penalty tracking team at Reprieve, said: “Ibrahim Halawa has been through a horrifying ordeal – arrested and tortured as a child, held in deplorable conditions for over two years and now faced with the threat of a mass death sentence."

“The latest reports of the torture meted out in his prison are deeply shocking,and it’s utterly clear that his trial alongside 493 other prisoners has precious little to do with justice.”

Ms Foa called on the governments of Ireland and the UK to fight tirelessly for Ibrahim’s release.

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