Sunday 21 January 2018

'Men covered in honey and tied to trees so they are attacked by insects' - Irishman reveals various tortures of foreign prison

Electrocution, machine guns and 'the sweeper' - smuggled letter reveals atrocities

Ibrahim Halawa
Ibrahim Halawa Newsdesk Newsdesk

Electrocution, assault with machine guns and 'the sweeper' are all brutal torture methods described by an Irishman in an Egyptian prison.

Ibrahim Halawa (20) has been imprisoned in the North African country for almost three years since he was arrested during political protests while on holidays in Cairo with his sisters.

He is currently awaiting trial and a potential death penalty.

In a letter smuggled out of prison and reported on in today's London Times, Mr Halawa describes the physical and sexual torture of inmates in the Wadi el-Natrun prison.

He said fellow inmates are forced to watch each other endure torture methods that include being beaten with plastic pipes, electrocuted, assaulted with machine guns and put on 'the sweeper' - a torture method that involves tying inmates to a plan and leaving them to hang as if they are on a spit.

According to the letter, published in the Times, men are also covered in honey and tied to trees so they are attacked with insects.

Dubliner Ibrahim Halawa
Dubliner Ibrahim Halawa

Halawa wrote; "They crucify men. They hold a man's arm against the curb and you hear it break when they kick it."

He said he wakes up everyday to the "screams of prisoners being tortured".

In a letter to his family last month, the former Dublin schoolboy said the 1,000 days he has spent in prison have felt like 1,000 years.

He told of how other prisoners have taken their own lives.

"One thousand days with 1,000 different stories. Sadly not the type of joy, laughter and smiles. But rather the type full of suffering, pain, torture, tears, abuse, suicide and death," he wrote.

"One thousand days that have felt like 1,000 years, not only for me but for hundreds behind bars."

Halawa's sisters are calling for more assertive action to free their brother.

Amnesty International's director Colm O'Gorman said the organisation conducted a review of the prosecution evidence and concluded that Mr Halawa could not have committed the crimes with which he has been charged.

His mass trial has been delayed 13 times and is now due to take place on June 29.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said every effort is being made to secure his release.

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