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Delegation will ask Egypt's president to free hunger striker Ibrahim Halawa


Ibrahim Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa

A cross-party delegation of Irish politicians is to personally ask Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to free jailed Irishman Ibrahim Halawa.

The delegation spent an hour and a half with the 21-year-old in Wadi al Natrum prison in Cairo where he remains on hunger strike.

The politicians were told Mr Halawa was given a glucose injection yesterday to give him energy ahead of the visit.

From Firhouse in Dublin and the son of prominent Muslim cleric Sheikh Hussein Halawa, Ibrahim Halawa was detained in a mosque near Ramses Square in Cairo as the Muslim Brotherhood held a "day of rage" over the removal of elected president Mohamed Morsi in August 2013.

Eoin O'Broin, Sinn Fein member of the delegation, said: "The hunger strike is deeply worrying.

"A large number of the deputies tried to make a case that his focus should be on his health and we should be lobbying for his release.


Ibrahim Halawa is on hunger strike in Cairo

Ibrahim Halawa is on hunger strike in Cairo

Ibrahim Halawa is on hunger strike in Cairo

"But he really is at the end of his tether. He said he would think about it.

"He's physically and emotionally very drained, quite pale but at the same time he's a very strong and animated young man.

"He's very strong physically, emotionally and personally but he's under immense strain."

Mr Halawa has not eaten for more than a week.

He wore white prison overalls and shoes to the visit and had been given a haircut and shave before being brought from the cell he shares with about 10 others.

He told the delegation that he is still waiting for an echo scan on his heart which was recommended several months ago.

He also reported feeling numbness in an arm and leg along with pain in his chest.

The prison governor indicated that the scan would be looked into but gave no firm commitment on treatment, Mr O'Broin said.

The delegation is led by Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail and followed an invite from the speaker of the Egyptian parliament.

Mr O'Broin said the delegation is being urged to ask for Mr Halawa to be included in a second round of amnesties due to be announced by President el-Sisi. They meet him on Wednesday.

The delegation impressed on the Egyptian prison authorities and police that they are holding an Irish citizen.

It is understood they have also been told that the video footage from the "Day of Rage" does not contain any evidence of wrongdoing by Mr Halawa.

The Halawas claimed he has told them in recent days that he would continue refusing food until he is released.

He refused food for prolonged periods at least twice before during his incarceration.

The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for January 17.

PA Media