Thursday 19 April 2018

'I'm only sleeping for two or three hours a night' - how Ibrahim Halawa is adapting to the 'outside world'

'The outside world feels really weird now, it feels not normal for me now' - Ibrahim Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa at Dublin airport. Credit: Gerry Mooney
Ibrahim Halawa at Dublin airport. Credit: Gerry Mooney

Kathy Armstrong

Ibrahim Halawa has spoken out about adapting to the outside world, and said he is only getting "two to three hours sleep a night".

Halawa (21) was released last month after spending four years in an Egyptian prison after being accused of being a member of the banned Muslim brotherhood.

The Dubliner said that he has attended a doctor after his ordeal and admits that he is having difficulty settling into life in Ireland again.

Speaking on The Matt Cooper Show on Today FM, Ibrahim described the experience as "overwhelming".

He said: "It's overwhelming, it's not easy, I'm trying to adapt to freedom and things like drinking in a glass and sleeping in my bed, going to the outside world.

"It's worrying because you never had the freedom to go into the outside world and then one day you're allowed to open your door, it just feels weird.

Ibrahim Halawa with his five sisters at the Tatler awards Photo: Paul Sherwood
Ibrahim Halawa with his five sisters at the Tatler awards Photo: Paul Sherwood

"The outside world feels really weird now, it feels not normal for me now."

Ibrahim said that he is looking to the future now and hopes to study IT and business next year but he revealed that adjusting to freedom has been difficult.

He continued to say: "I was referred to a doctor and they said if I wasn't feeling like that they would be worried because I was away for four years and then I'm suddenly put back into a position where everything is supposed to be normal and it's not going to be like that for me...

"I don't sleep much, maybe two or three hours a day so my mom is pretty worried.

"I have been given sleeping pills but I don't want to take them yet because I don't want to get used to that."

He also said that despite online abuse, he has received a lot of support from the Irish public.

Ibrahim said: "Walking down Grafton Street, a lot of people stop me for selfies. It's very heart-warming and welcoming.

Ibrahim Halawa celebrates moments after his acquittal of various charges at the Wadi el-Natrun prison outside Cairo yesterday. Photo: Declan Walsh/The New York Times/Redux
Ibrahim Halawa celebrates moments after his acquittal of various charges at the Wadi el-Natrun prison outside Cairo yesterday. Photo: Declan Walsh/The New York Times/Redux

"I haven't gotten a hate comment on the street but online there are some.

"I have to stress that not everyone who disagrees with me online is a hater.

"It's those who criticise me who say something about my religion or my family.

"People are entitled to have their opinion, not everyone has to agree with me politically but I was falsely incarcerated for four years, I'm not saying please agree with me but there is a judicial system that is falsely imprisoning me."

Ibrahim also refuted persistent rumours he tore up his Irish passport at a demonstration in Cairo.

He said: "I actually don’t know how that story got around.

"It’s with the Egyptian government at the moment, they fingerprinted me for it as well, they took my finger print from me to say they have it. So I’m trying to get it back, just to prove."

He explained that the Egyptian authorities took the document to facilitate consular visits while he was in prison.

He added: "They took it because at the time that was the only ID I had, I was only 17 and I was walking around with it in Egypt because that was the only ID I had at the time.

"I’m trying to get it back, they Irish Embassy in Egypt are trying to get it back. I didn’t tear up my passport, it’s total nonsense, whoever spread that rumour."

Read More: 'Racist people are going to be racist' - Ibrahim Halawa denies involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood on Late Late Show

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