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A year behind bars: Ibrahim Halawa - Daily News Egypt

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A year behind bars: Ibrahim Halawa

Irish Egyptian Ibrahim Halawa has spent one year behind bars.

Irish Egyptian Ibrahim Halawa was arrested in Al-Fath mosque last year. (Photo provided by Ibrahim Halawa's family)
Irish Egyptian Ibrahim Halawa was arrested in Al-Fath mosque last year.
(Photo provided by Ibrahim Halawa’s family)

In the aftermath of the violent events seen around Egypt on 14 August 2013, especially in Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square, marches were planned to convene on Ramses Square in the heart of downtown Cairo in support of Mohamed Morsi and in opposition to the violence from two days before.

The day produced disturbing and desperate images as people were seen jumping off bridges to escape the gunfire that occurred on both sides of the river Nile. Hundreds had gathered in Ramses Square in the shadow of the Al-Fath mosque, which would become the scene of a siege between demonstrators and security forces.

Seventeen year-old Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen with Egyptian heritage, came to Egypt with his three sisters, Somaia, Fatima and Omaima, following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. They joined the protest camp in Rabaa Al-Adaweya and witnessed the violent scenes from the days before.

Halawa’s sister, Somaia, told Daily News Egypt it was “humanity” that drove her and her siblings to Ramses Square that day, saying that “people saw horrible things at Rabaa”.

When the siblings arrived at Ramses Square they were confronted with a chaotic scene as the police had already moved to disperse the demonstration. Smoke could be seen from afar with an armed forces helicopter hovering over the square in the afternoon. By the end of the day at least 173 were dead nationwide as a result of the persisting violence.

Halawa and his sisters ran into Al-Fath Mosque, which was being used by protesters as a refuge, field hospital and morgue at the time. Some demonstrators requested to be escorted out but then faced attack by civilians, so many opted to stay inside the mosque.

The security forces entered the mosque and evacuated those inside, making 385 arrests, including Halawa and his sisters who became separated only to meet again in Tora prison.

A year later Halawa is still in prison and the trial session he has waited one year for was suspended last week. The suspension came after the judge in the case recused himself after one of the defence lawyers objected to the defendants being held in a glass box. Halawa was not present at the session, as there are a total of 492 defendants in the case and not all those in custody were able to attend due to lack of space.

Somaia and her sisters were released after being held for two months. She said that the judge told them: “’I hope you have learned your lesson’”.

Halawa, now 18 years old, remains in prison, having been transferred from Al-Marg prison to Tora prison last week. He receives weekly visits from his mother and one of his sisters, and “is always happy when these visits occur”. The family fear that in the wake of the sentencing of three Al-Jazeera English journalists – of which two are foreign passport holders – to seven years in June, that Halawa will receive a jail sentence.

Halawa and other inmates began a hunger strike last Wednesday, drinking only water, in protest of his continued detention. “It’s not just his mental state but his physical well being,” said his sister.

In a letter written by Halawa provided to Daily News Egypt by the family, he describes how he and other inmates were beaten and dragged down a set of stairs when they insisted on seeing the judge in the hearing last week. In his letter Halawa vowed to continue his hunger strike until he is released.

Somaia called on the Irish government and the European Union “to bring him home before any other action is taken”. She also expressed her disappointment with the Irish government and the EU for not putting enough pressure on the Egyptian government. She said the family will hold them, and the Egyptian authorities, fully responsible if anything is to happen to her brother.

Halawa ended his letter: “We will all meet very soon, it’s a dark tunnel that will end with light”.

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  • Maggie Silverstein

    I continue to read the story of this despiccable family everywhere. A bunch of Islamic retards with veils. A terrorist mentality to leave Ireland and park their asses in Rabbaa for 45 days. Don’t you have a job? You left Egypt to Ireland. You don’t integrate in your new homeland. You go back to Egypt to support a terrorist retard like you, Morsi. You were given plenty of warning to leave Rabbaa for 45 days. Did you do it? No. You are retards. Your brother should stay in prison as he is a hazard to Europeans. He is a future terrorist in the making. Now that you are in Ireland, leave Egypt alone. They don’t want you there. I am sure it is a matter if time before Ireland finds out what mistake they did by offering you their passport. As a Moslem, your veils and ways of thinking make me sick.

    • Anthony Thompson

      Maggie Silverstein, your intolerance and hatred make ME sick! You have the mindset of a terrorist. Someone who might support the bombing of schools filled with innocent children if they are of the ‘wrong’ nationality or religion. Am I correct?

      • Maggie Silverstein

        Hello Anthony, I am not a bigot. In fact, I am American woman who converted to islam after marrying my Egyptian husband in USA and go to Egypt often. But I see how people with a mind set like that want to take humanity 1000 years back. That’s not islam.
        No TV, no acting, no music, veiling women, sharia law, hatred for different religions, Jews, and Americans, naming who is believer and who is not. Morsi was all about that. No, I don’t believe in bombing children. It is Hamas actions with their Islamic ideology to fire rockets on innocent civilians in Israel. You need to educate yourself. This kid represents this Islamic ideology. He is like the 5 year old Palestinian children who want kill Jews. Except, he is 17. He should have known better.

  • Nile

    The Teenager is not an Irish Teenager. The Article title is
    misleading. The Teenager is an Egyptian Citizen with an Egyptian Citizenship. He is a MB Member and the fact that he and his family have obtained an additional citizenship (Irish) to be used as needed will not help him mush.

    Under the US Law and Egyptian Law, anybody who reaches the
    age of 18, is treated as an adult and is responsible for his acts.

    He will go to trial for the acts he committed as an Egyptian
    citizen, unless he surrender his Egyptian citizenship.

    It is a well known fact, that a lot of the Muslim Brotherhood
    members and families have obtained one way or another a foreign citizenship such as Canadian, Irish, British and US Citizenship to be used as leverage if they are caught is the act of illegal activities in Egypt.

    Having an additional passport as being “Irish” will
    not help this guy who is being treated as an adult since he reached the age of 18.

    • Jim

      Ibrahim was born in Dublin Ireland and is therefore an Irish citizen.

      • Nile

        Ibrahim is an Egyptian Citizen, comes from a well-known Egyptian MB active family. He carries an Egyptian Citizenship and an Egyptian Passport. And he is being trialed in Egypt as an Egyptian Citizen who committed illegal acts against the nation.

        The history of the Halawa family says it all. Being able to obtain an additional citizenship like an “Irish” one, will not make you above the law or get a different treatment in the court of law simply because you have an extra foreign passport.

  • wepump

    Sorry to say he deserves all he gets and having 2 citizenships means nothing he in Egypt now and broke Egyptian LAW I am sure the Irish Government happy he here Now they are not spending Irish money watching his and his families activities against Egypt and other countries that don’t believe in the Ikhwan dream

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