Sunday 17 December 2017

Editorial: Government needs to try harder for Ibrahim

Ibrahim Halawa
Ibrahim Halawa


Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan is insistent that he and his department are doing everything in their power in the case of Ibrahim Halawa, who is incarcerated in an Egyptian jail.

While we accept the bona fides of the minister in this issue, the fact remains that an Irish citizen has been held for 600 days in appalling conditions. It is all right to say that when an Irish citizen is arrested abroad "foreign law" applies, but when someone has been targeted for peaceful political beliefs, then it is fair to suggest that the Irish Government could, and should, do more. What appears clear is that Mr Flanagan and his department are resigned to Egyptian law taking its course, and then campaigning to have Ibrahim Halawa released, should he be found guilty.

But surely after the treatment this young man has received our priority must be to have him released, now. Two years is a very long time in anybody's life, but for a young man to spend two years in an Egyptian jail on flimsy political charges is outrageous. We should put aside diplomatic niceties and tell the Egyptian ambassador that Ireland demands Ibrahim's release.

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