Monday 19 March 2018

Halawa 'is no terrorist', says former cellmate

Ibrahim Halawa: held in jail
Ibrahim Halawa: held in jail
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Jailed Dublin man Ibrahim Halawa is in "no way a violent terrorist" or a "threat to any society", according to his former cellmate.

Journalist Peter Greste has also claimed that Ibrahim's "ethnic origins" have obscured the need to address the way his "most basic rights as an Irish and European citizen have been denied."

Mr Greste was one of three Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt in 2014 on terrorism charges.

During his incarceration, Mr Greste shared a cell with Ibrahim (20), who is from Tallaght.

In his email, Mr Greste says the Government needs to do much more to ensure Ibrahim's release.

"I know there has been much public debate in Ireland around Ibrahim's motives and his family's background, and there are two things I'd like to say in this regard. Firstly, although I wasn't in Rabaa Square when Ibrahim was arrested, everything I learned about him in prison suggests that while he might be an idealistic young man with strong political ideas, he is in no way a violent 'terrorist', much less a threat to any society," Mr Greste wrote.

"I saw nothing to substantiate any of the allegations against him. Secondly - and more importantly - his ethnic origins have obscured the far more important need to address the way Ibrahim's most basic rights as an Irish and European citizen have been denied."

The contents of Mr Greste's letter were due to be discussed by the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs committee today.

Ibrahim's case has been raised repeatedly by members of the Oireachtas, including Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan and Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy.

Irish Independent

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