IBRAHIM HALAWA’S FIVE sisters were honoured with a special recognition award at last night’s Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards.
His sisters were at the forefront of the campaign to have the 21-year-old released from prison in Egypt.
A month after being acquitted in a Cairo court, the 21-year-old Dubliner returned home on Tuesday to a throng of media attention and his cheering supporters.
As well as Ibrahim, Omaima, Fatima and Soumaya were also arrested at an August 2013 protest against a military coup.
In the days before the protest, at least 817 people were massacred by the Egyptian military.
Before last month’s acquittal, Ibrahim Halawa was held in prison for four years and his sisters campaigned tirelessly for the Irish government to put pressure on their Egyptian counterparts.
That work was recognised last night at the awards ceremony with Ibrahim presenting the award to his sisters.
In a speech at the Clayton Hotel, Halawa described himself as the “luckiest man in the world” because of his sisters.
“Freedom still takes a lot of adaption to get used to after four years, especially going in as a kid. It affects you mentally but I’m not here to talk about myself,” Halawa said.
I’m here to talk about what a wonderful job they have done, amazing and hardworking. They’ve postponed their lives, they postponed everything, they postponed college, they didn’t have a proper wedding, they weren’t happy with their first-born child or kids that they had because I, their little brother, was still in prison.
“Of course, they fought and they fought and they fought and I really want to take this opportunity to say that I’m very proud to have sisters like them, I’m the luckiest man in the world.”
Since his release, family members have said that Ibrahim Halawa is considering returning to his studies with Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan suggesting she doesn’t imagine he’ll “go away quietly”.
Speaking about the decision to give the Halawa sisters the special recognition award, publisher of the Irish Tatler Norah Casey said it has been a “momentous” week for the family.
“We have some amazing women award winners this year including the Halawa sisters who stood steadfast by their brother campaigning tirelessly for his release,” she said.
“When the judging panel choose these three women for a significant achievement award little did we know how momentous the week would be with Ibrahim’s release.”
Focus Ireland founder Sister Stanislaus Kennedy was honoured with the overall Woman of the Year Award for 2017.