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Blair is asked to help get Ibrahim out of Egypt jail

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Ibrahim Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa

Ibrahim Halawa

A HUMAN rights organisation campaigning for jailed Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa have appealed to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to intervene on his behalf.

Ibrahim, from Firhouse, south Dublin, was 17 when he was detained in Egypt after he and his three sisters were caught up in protests at the Al-Fath mosque in Cairo last year. His sisters were later released.

Ibrahim, who remains in custody, began a hunger strike last Wednesday, a day after a judge walked out of the mass trial where his case was to be heard along with those of more than 480 other defendants.

illegal

Similar trials have seen hundreds sentenced to death.

Reprieve, the group that has taken up Ibrahim's case, has written to Mr Blair asking him to urge the Egyptian authorities "to ensure that all prisoners involved in this case receive a fair trial in line with international standards".

They asked him to lobby the Egyptian government, pointing out his interest in the region.

A spokesperson said: "Tony Blair should be using his obvious influence with Egypt's leadership to secure both Ibrahim's release and an end to these illegal mass trials."

Mr Blair was vocal in his support for Egypt's government, led by former general Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, earlier this year. He said deposed president Mohamed Morsi had "tried to take the country away from its basic values of hope and progress".

Mr Blair said the army had restored the country on the path to democracy, adding: "We should be supporting the new government in doing that."

Ibrahim was arrested last August during the protests against the overthrow of the Morsi government.

His family have expressed their fears that he will die in jail before Irish government intervention is successful.

Ibrahim's sister, Nosayba, said yesterday that she is expecting a call to say the worst has happened to him.

"Nobody can imagine what we are going through," she said.

When asked what her message for the Irish Government was, she said: "Are we going to wait until we are getting his body from the hospital?"

Speaking from Cairo, Nosayba said her brother had been beaten in prison over the weekend by guards with iron chains.

Another sister, Somaia, told the Herald: "Ibrahim is using the hunger strike as a last resort, but his health has already been deteriorating.

"The Irish Government keeps asking for a fair trial, but Egypt is a country where justice doesn't exist."

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it has been in ongoing contact with the family and is aware of their concerns.

hnews@herald.ie


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