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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
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Halawa sisters say they've been blocked by Charlie Flanagan on Twitter

Somaia Halawa, who runs the ‘Free Ibrahim Halawa’ Twitter account, claims that Flanagan blocked the account after a Twitter storm organised ahead of her brother’s last postponed trial.

Somaia Halawa calls for Ibrahim's release outside the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Somaia Halawa calls for Ibrahim's release outside the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Image: Photocall Ireland

Updated 5pm

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Charlie Flanagan has reportedly blocked the campaign to free Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa from interacting with him on Twitter.

Ibrahim’s sisters, who run the ‘Free Ibrahim Halawa’ Twitter account, said Flanagan blocked the account after they tagged him in tweets about their brother on Tuesday night.

19-year-old Ibrahim, from Tallaght in Dublin, was due to stand trial in Cairo the following day on charges related to taking part in a pro-Muslim Brotherhood rally.

The trial was postponed for a seventh time yesterday.

His sisters say that Flanagan has now “abandoned” their brother even on social media.

In a Facebook post, they described the blocking of their campaign account as “utterly disgraceful and dismissive”.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie last night, Somaia Halawa, Ibrahim’s oldest sister, claimed that Flanagan had blocked the account after he was tagged in tweets during a  #‎FreeIbrahim‬ Twitter storm they had organised the night her brother was due to stand trial.

“I was shocked and disappointed,” she said. “We’ve always been respectful in the way we use social media.”

Ibrahim, whose father Sheikh Hussein Halawa is the imam of Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin, has been held in an Egyptian prison since his arrest in August 2013.

In a letter to his family earlier this year, the teenager wrote that he believed the Irish government would “not work hard because I am not white or with me not having an Irish name or even because [of] my religion.”

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Minister “does not consider Twitter to be the appropriate forum to discuss consular cases.”

Flanagan “has engaged actively and remains committed to taking all appropriate action to  achieve a positive outcome for this young Irishman, Mr Halawa, and his family,” it said.

Minister Flanagan is clear on our two objectives: firstly, to see Ibrahim Halawa released by the Egyptian authorities so that he can return to his family and his studies in Ireland, and secondly to provide consular support for his welfare while he remains in detention.

The Department added that the Minister is due to attend a scheduled meeting with the Halawa family this evening.

Read: Ibrahim Halawa’s trial has been delayed AGAIN >

Read: An Irish priest wants to swap places in prison with Ibrahim Halawa >

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Catherine Healy

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