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'These are mere stories': Egyptian ambassador denies Ibrahim Halawa was tortured in prison

Halawa (21) was arrested during a demonstration in 2014 in support of Mohamed Morsi who had been ousted from power in a military coup.

Pictured protesters from Amnesty International, USI and Unite Against Racism outside the Egyption Embassy in Dublin this afternoon.
Pictured protesters from Amnesty International, USI and Unite Against Racism outside the Egyption Embassy in Dublin this afternoon.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated at 8.20pm

THE EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR to Ireland has denied allegations that Irish man Ibrahim Halawa was tortured in prison.

Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on the fourth anniversary of Halawa’s incarceration, Soha Gendi said that allegations of torture were “mere stories”.

“I refute those accusations of having torture… these are mere stories and no proof whatsoever of this happening,” she said.

Halawa (21) was arrested during a protest in 2013 in support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi who had been ousted from power in a military coup.

The hearing of Halawa’s case was delayed 28 times before his legal team finally had a chance to defend him in court two weeks ago.

His family said he has been subjected to beatings while in prison.

“If you have a general claim you have to give me names, you have to give me details,” Soha Gendi said today.

She also rejected allegations that Halawa’s case represented a “mass trial” and said he and the Irish government had been given a number of concessions while he has been in prison.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International Ireland held a lunchtime demonstration today outside the Egyptian embassy calling for his release.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said earlier he was reaffirming his commitment to seeing Halawa released and returned home.

“I want to reaffirm my determination and that of the Irish Government to seeing this young man released from prison in Egypt and returned to his family in Dublin so that he can resume his life and his studies,” Coveney said.

Coveney welcomed the fact that Halawa had been defended in court and said that he was looking forward to “the conclusion of the judicial process, and to a resolution of this long-running and complex issue”.

I am sending a personal message to Ibrahim Halawa today expressing solidarity with him, encouraging him to stay strong and hopeful, and renewing the Government’s promise to him that we will continue to do everything possible to ensure that he is able to return home as soon as possible.

Colm O’Gorman – executive director of Amnesty International Ireland – reiterated the organisation’s call to drop all the charges against Halawa.

“Amnesty International continues to be gravely concerned for both his mental and physical wellbeing,” O’Gorman said.

“We reiterate our call that the Egyptian authorities drop all charges against Ibrahim and order his immediate and unconditional release.

We also urge the Irish Government to continue working on his behalf and to use every means at their disposal to secure his release.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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