Tuesday 12 December 2017

Three Irish sisters released from Egypt prison

From left, sisters Fatima, Omaima and Somaia Halawa. Photo: PA
From left, sisters Fatima, Omaima and Somaia Halawa. Photo: PA

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that three sisters from Dublin held without trial in an Egyptian prison have been released.

The three members of the Halawa family were arrested during a protest march in Cairo in August. They were detained in a Cairo prison for nearly three months.

Their brother, Ibrahim (17), remains in custody and is due to attend a court hearing today.

Sisters Omaima, 20, Fatima, 22, and Somaia, 27, and their brother Ibrahim - from Firhouse, south Dublin - were jailed on August 17, without specific charges.

The siblings, whose father Sheikh Hussein Halawa is the imam of Ireland's largest mosque, had travelled to Egypt earlier in the summer for a holiday.

The four were forced to seek sanctuary in the Al Fateh mosque in mid-August after violent clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and the security forces.

They became trapped in the al-Fateh mosque after taking part in a protest related to the ousting of former Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore had telephoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy last Monday to express his concern that the Halawa siblings had been kept in without being charged with an offence.

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