Bailed Al Jazeera journalist urges help for ‘decent teenager’ Ibrahim Halawa
March 31, 2015
Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, on bail awaiting a retrial in Egypt, has urged the Irish government and the international community to save a teenager from Dublin with whom he recently shared a cell.
Ibrahim Halawa was 17 and on holiday with family when he was arrested in August 2013 during the Egyptian military’s breakup of protests. He faces a death sentence if convicted alongside 493 other people on nearly identical charges. The controversial ‘mass trial’, which includes several other juveniles alongside Mr Halawa, was postponed on Sunday for the fifth time in seven months. It emerged yesterday that Mr Halawa is now being held alongside prisoners who have been condemned to death at Wadi Natrun, reportedly one of Egypt’s worst jails.
Speaking to the Toronto Star, Mr Fahmy, who was jailed in Cairo in 2014 along with his colleagues Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, urged the Irish government to press for Mr Halawa’s deportation under the presidential decree that led to Mr Greste’s release several weeks ago. He said: “Any delay in extracting [Ibrahim Halawa] could leave him caught up for years in Egypt’s clogged judicial system and possibly a victim on death row if the world turns a blind eye to his pitiful situation.” He added that Mr Halawa was “a decent teenager who has committed no crime.”
On Sunday, Mr Halawa told his family that he was being mistreated and denied food in the prison, and that he was afraid he was going to die there.
Commenting, Maya Foa, the director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, which is assisting Mr Halawa, said:
“Mohamed Fahmy is right to condemn this mass trial for what it is – an unspeakable injustice against a scared teenager and hundreds of others who have been put through hell, merely for attending a protest. It’s now clear Ibrahim is being treated so badly that he fears he may die before he can even mount a defence. The Irish government and other countries need to do all they can to press for his release, before any harm comes to him.”
Notes to editors
1. For more information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 207 553 8160
2. Background on Mr Halawa’s case can be found at Reprieve’s website.
3. Detail on conditions at Wadi Natrun prison can be found in this article.