Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the arrest of Firhouse man Ibrahim Halawa and his family and friends marked the occasion by gathering outside the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin to protest against his continued detention.
They were joined by members of Amnesty International, Unite Against Racism and USI in demanding he be released from the Egyptian jail where he was been kept in since he was arrested, aged 17, during protests in support of Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood who had been ousted from power in a military coup.
Over the past four years his trial was postponed 28 times with his legal team only getting to defend him in court two weeks ago.
In a statement read outside the embassy his family said:
“Today we say that four years is too much – four years in an Egyptian prison, four years of a mass trial, four years of hope of freedom that never came true, four years of waiting.
“One day is too much, four years is torture.
“We miss our brother desperately.”
It was confirmed that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will discuss the case with the Egyptian president next week and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney also gave his support saying:
“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.
“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.
“I welcome the fact that, earlier this month, Ibrahim finally had his day in court and his opportunity to defend himself against the charges that he faces, and I note that the group trial in which he is a defendant seems finally to be drawing to an end.”
Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman once again called for all charges against Mr Halawa to be dropped
“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.”