FINE GAEL TD Alan Shatter is set to table a motion calling for the release of Ibrahim Halawa from his imprisonment in Egypt.
The former justice minister’s prospective move is being widely supported by TDs from across Leinster House, with some 52 deputies from different parties signing up to add their official endorsement to the motion.
Ibrahim Halawa has been detained in Egypt for the past 30 months, along with 493 other prisoners.
The then 17-year-old’s detention happened in the aftermath of Egyptian president Abdul Fattah el-Sisi seizing power in July 2013 amid a crackdown on protests.
To date, Halawa’s mass trial has been postponed on 12 occasions, with the next hearing slated for 6 March this year in Cairo.
In recent months allegations have emerged from Halawa himself that “experimental torture” is being conducted in his prison, and also that he has engaged in a hunger-strike.
Some of the high-profile TDs who have added their name to Shatter’s motion are: independent Clare Daly, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, Gerry Adams, Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy, Labour’s Emmett Stagg, and Shatter’s one-time nemesis within the Dáil independent Mick Wallace.
Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan described the motion as being “timely” today.
“I am delighted that senior politicians from government and opposition parties have put political differences aside in the interests of human rights,” she said.
Mr Shatter’s timely motion comes as Ibrahim faces his 900th day in prison on Sunday.
Shatter, who is seeking re-election in Dublin Rathdown, is hoping to debate the motion next week, or, assuming that the Dáil is dissolved in anticipation of the coming election, within the early days of the next administration.
- Expresses “its deep concern” about the “unacceptable breach of basic human rights” constituted by the ongoing imprisonment of Ibrahim Halawa, and calls for his immediate release
- Expresses its concern at the deteriorating condition of Halawa and the conditions in which he is being held
- Calls on Egypt to ensure the good-health and well-being of Halawa while he is imprisoned
- That all allegations regarding the torture of Halawa be investigated
- Reminds the Egyptian authorities that they are bound by “indisputable international obligations” regarding the rights of children, as applied to Halawa
- Demands that the death penalty is categorically ruled out in Halawa’s case given he was arrested as a juvenile
“There is no certainty that the trial (of Ibrahim Halawa) will take place on its next scheduled date of 6 March 2016 and together with his family and others I have very major concerns as to how a trial can properly proceed with such a large number of defendants before the court,” Shatter said in a statement.
In consultation with Ibrahim’s family, I initiated steps for the tabling of a Dáil Motion to enable members of Dáil Eireann record our concern about his circumstances and seek his release.
“I am very grateful to colleagues on all sides of the House who are supportive of this initiative,” he added.