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'His life is on the line': Vigil held in support of Ibrahim Halawa ahead of 21st trial date tomorrow

Dublin-born Halawa has been held without trial in Egypt since being arrested at a protest in Cairo in August 2013.

Pictured are (LtoR) Omaima, Fatima and Somaia Halawa with the Minister Katherine Zappone outside Leinster House this evening.
Pictured are (LtoR) Omaima, Fatima and Somaia Halawa with the Minister Katherine Zappone outside Leinster House this evening.
Image: RollingNews.ie

OVER 100 PEOPLE attended a vigil outside the gates of Leinster House this evening in support of Ibrahim Halawa, the young Irish man imprisoned in an Egyptian prison.

Supporters of Halwa gathered outside Leinster House calling for his human rights to be upheld.

A petition signed by around 5,000 people was presented to Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone.

The demonstration was organised by campaigning organisation Uplift.

“Ibrahim Halawa has been imprisoned without trial since August 2013, and the Irish Government’s inaction has been shocking,” said spokesperson for Uplift Emily Duffy.

“Ibrahim is now on hunger strike and time is running out.

Diplomatic efforts have failed and we are calling on the Irish Government to do everything within their power to get Ibraham home immediately including taking legal action.

unnamed (1) Somaia Halawa speaking with Children's Minister Katherine Zappone. Source: RollingNews.ie

Dublin-born Halawa has been held without trial in Egypt since being arrested at a protest in Cairo in August 2013.

His 20th trial is due to be held tomorrow, after 20 previous hearings were cancelled.

Despite numerous requests by the Irish government that he be freed, Egyptian president el-Sisi has said that he could only consider pardoning him when his trial is complete.

Dáil

Speaking today in the Dáil, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett called for Government action on Halawa’s case.

“His life is literally on the line and human rights organisations such as Amnesty have pointed out that his continued imprisonment represents an inexcusable violation of international and Egyptian law,” said Boy Barrett.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that he had sent another “urgent letter” yesterday evening to el-Sisi, asking that Halawa be released on humanitarian grounds.

“The Egyptian President has been quite clear and very consistent all along that he can only use his presidential powers of pardon after a court case has actually taken place,” he said.

A Government spokesperson confirmed earlier today that the Department of Foreign Affairs had arranged for an Irish doctor to travel to Cairo to visit Halawa in prison on 29 March.

This was following reports from Halawa’s family that he was “dying” in prison. The family said he has developed a skin disease from staying in the prison hospital in which he is held.

The doctor – a GP – reported concerns for Halawa’s condition and said he needed urgent specialist evaluation and should be brought to Ireland to facilitate the tests.

“Our Embassy in Cairo has already formally requested the follow-up tests be carried out without delay,” the spokesperson said.

The prison authorities have given our Ambassador and the Irish doctor assurances that this will be done.

Read: Doctor recommends Ibrahim Halawa be released from prison for ‘further medical assessments’

Read: Ibrahim Halawa’s family say he is now ‘dying’ in prison

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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