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'The nightmare is over': Ibrahim Halawa has been released from prison in Egypt

The 21-year-old spent more than four years in jail.

Ibrahim Halawa shortly after being freed
Ibrahim Halawa shortly after being freed
Image: Free Ibrahim Halawa campaign via Facebook

Updated 9.15am 

IRISHMAN IBRAHIM HALAWA has been released from prison in Egypt after more than four years and is due to return home to Ireland.

The news was confirmed shortly before midnight Irish-time, just over one month after he was found not guilty by an Egyptian court.

A statement on the official Free Ibrahim Halawa Facebook page read: “Fantastic news, Ibrahim has finally been released from prison.

“We will now begin to make arrangements to bring him home where he belongs in Ireland.”

The statement was accompanied by a photograph of Halawa smiling and pointing at the camera.

The 21-year-old had been arrested in 2013 during a protest in support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who had been ousted from power in a military coup.

His case was delayed 28 times before his legal team finally had a chance to defend him in court in early August. He was acquitted of all charges on 18 September.

The statement paid tribute to all the people who had worked to secure Halawa’s release.

“We can’t thank enough all those who worked so hard for Ibrahim’s release, we owe you all so much.”

Questions had been raised about the long delay in releasing Halawa from jail following the not guilty verdict.

Reaction

Halawa’s release has been welcomed, with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney saying he was “delighted”.

“I am delighted that Ibrahim has finally been released after his long and difficult ordeal, and that he will soon be able to return home and be reunited with his family.

“I know that Ibrahim and his family have asked for privacy during this time and I hope that this will be respected. Ibrahim has been through a lot, and I think we all need to give him the time and space that he needs.

“On behalf of the Government, I want to make clear that all appropriate ongoing support that Ibrahim requires in the period ahead will be available to him.”

President Michael D Higgins said that he wished Halawa well.

“The release of Ibrahim Halawa will come as a great relief to his family.

“It will be welcomed by all those who were concerned for him in his long ordeal of imprisonment.

“I wish Ibrahim Halawa well on his journey home.”

‘Horrendous experience’ 

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone also welcomed the development.

“Today is for celebrating. The moment which all of us have waited for has finally arrived and Ibrahim is free.

“For almost four-years I have remained in close contact with the Halawa family, in particular his sisters Somaia, Fatima and Omaima.

On the streets, the corridors of power and through legal avenues the three sisters kept their brothers plight in the public eye. Their determination, commitment and love is an inspiration. They are some of the most inspiring people I have ever campaigned with.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “It is thanks to the determined work of his lawyers and campaigning of his family, friends and Amnesty activists that his horrific ordeal has finally come to an end.

“Ibrahim should never have had to endure this horrendous experience. He has lost four years of his young life and nothing can ever excuse that injustice. Thankfully, his nightmare is finally over and he can now begin to move on with his life.”

With reporting by Órla Ryan

Read: Full coverage of Ibrahim Halawa’s case >  

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