Leading rights groups and TDs call for release of Irish teen held in Egypt
September 4, 2014
Rights groups including Reprieve and Amnesty International have joined MEPs, parliamentarians, academics, teaching unions and student groups in calling on the Irish government to secure the release of an Irish teen facing the death penalty in Egypt.
Ibrahim Halawa, a student from Firhouse in County Dublin, was 17 at the time of his arrest in Egypt in August 2013, when he was caught up in the turmoil surrounding protests against the new military government. Detained in a series of adult prisons since, he has been tortured and held in solitary confinement, and has reported being singled out for special abuse because of his Irish nationality.
Despite Mr Halawa’s juvenile status, the Egyptian authorities have insisted on trying him as an adult in the country’s controversial ‘mass trials.’
In a letter sent this week to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the group says they “call upon you as both concerned citizens and organisations to use the full power of your office to demand the immediate and unconditional release of […] Ibrahim Halawa”.
The letter asks Kenny to:
- Make all possible efforts to secure Ibrahim’s immediate and unconditional release;
- Call on the Egyptian Government to treat Ibrahim as a juvenile, in accordance with international and Egyptian law;
- Join the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Union, and other governments in condemning Egypt’s use of mass trials and the death penalty.
Tineke Harris, one of the signatories to the letter and a director at Reprieve, the UK based legal charity that is supporting Mr Halawa, said: “This ‘mass trial’ is a mockery of justice, and Ibrahim Halawa’s inclusion in it must be stopped. Ibrahim’s life is in grave danger – the government should make all possible efforts to secure his immediate release.”
Notes to editors