Ibrahim Halawa

Image of Ibrahim Halawa

Ibrahim was caught up in the turmoil surrounding the breakup of political protests, while he was on holiday in Egypt. The police beat him and wouldn’t let him see a lawyer. He was denied medical treatment for a gunshot wound to his hand following his arrest, and as a result, his hand is now permanently disfigured.

Ibrahim was facing the death penalty in a mass trial of 494 people. In September 2017, he was acquitted after four years in pre-trial detention.

Ibrahim was arrested, along with his three older sisters, at a protest in Cairo in August 2013. At the time of his arrest, Ibrahim was just seventeen years old, and about to start his final year of school.

During Ibrahim’s detention, the police beat him, denied him medical treatment for bullet wounds to his hands, and denied him access to his lawyers. Prison staff told him that he would be executed.

Ibrahim was kept in solitary confinement in a cell less than a metre square with no light and no toilet. His trial was continually delayed, prolonging his detention. He spent time on hunger strike to protest his treatment.

Ibrahim’s sisters were all released on bail, but he was not so lucky. He faced a a mass trial along with 494 others, the majority of whom are adults. Ibrahim and his co-defendants were charged with attending an illegal protest during which protesters allegedly caused deaths and criminal damage. They were held jointly responsible for these offences, despite a lack of evidence linking any of them to these crimes.

The sheer number of people involved in Ibrahim’s trial rendered any concept of due process, or the right to a defence, meaningless. The Egyptian authorities denied defendants access to lawyers, and lawyers are not allowed to speak at or attend court hearings. The defendants themselves were given no opportunity to participate in the proceedings against them. Repeated efforts to transfer Ibrahim’s case to a juvenile court were rejected.

Finally, in September 2017, the judge announced his acquittal. Ibrahim was released on October 20th and arrived back home in Ireland four days later.

The work Reprieve did on Ibrahim’s case was funded entirely by people like you. Ibrahim’s release shows that together we can save lives, but there are many more prisoners who still need our help.

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