Egyptian Ambassador unavailable to discuss plight of jailed Tallaght man

The Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland Soha Gendi was invited to appear before the Foreign Affairs Committee after its meeting last week to discuss the release of Firhouse man Ibrahim Halawa who has been in incarcerated in Egypt for almost 3 years without trial.

However, in a letter to the Ceann Comhairle she said she would not be in a position to attend the meeting.

Ibrahim’s trial has been delayed 14 times and his mass trial is due before a judge again on October 2nd.

Mr Halawa was imprisoned in Cairo at the age of 17 in August 2013 after he was arrested in the Al Fath mosque near Cairo’s Ramses Square.

He was taking refuge with his family while demonstrations over the removal of president Mohamed Morsi were taking place.

His former cellmate, Australian journalist Peter Greste, has written a letter saying Ibrahim was in no way a threat to society and is calling on the government to help with his release.

The Halawa family say Ibrahim has been jailed without a fair trial and no adequate access to a lawyer.

They also claim he has been tortured, received electric shocks, beaten, spat on and moved without his family’s knowledge and is facing a possible death penalty.

Last April ambassador Gendi went on record to deny the families claims that Ibrahim is being mistreated because Egyptian government officials told her it wasn’t true.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One,  she said:

“It’s all false, it’s all lies. And what proves that it’s all false and lies is that there have been over 54 visits by the Egyptian authorities and governments and parliamentarians and none of them have said that they have seen him when he’s been injured or wounded or anything.

“The family wants to drag attention to the case so they are saying things. But I’m sorry, we have sent parliamentarians, officials, the embassy is visiting him every other day,” she claims.