Irishman freed by Egypt
Irishman freed by Egypt


An Irish political prisoner of the Egyptian government, Ibrahim Halawa, has been released following an internment of more than four years.

A statement this morning on the official Free Ibrahim Halawa Facebook page read: “Fantastic news, Ibrahim has finally been released from prison.”

A photograph has emerged of Halawa smiling and pointing at a camera in a public street. He is understood to be making his return home to Ireland.

The 21-year-old had been seized in 2013 during a protest against a military coup. His “case” was delayed 28 times before he finally appeared in court in early August this year. He was acquitted on 18 September, but his release was then delayed for over a month.

A statement paid tribute to all the people who had worked to secure Halawa’s release.

President Michael D Higgins said that he wished Halawa well.

“The release of Ibrahim Halawa will come as a great relief to his family. It will be welcomed by all those who were concerned for him in his long ordeal of imprisonment. I wish Ibrahim Halawa well on his journey home.”

Sinn Fein MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan has described her delight for Mr Halawa at his release from prison, and “particularly for his sisters and mother” who campaigned for his freedom.

Ms Boylan had campaigned to have his case raised at a European level and has worked with the Halawa family.

She said it is great that Mr Halawa is now a free man after four years in prison. Described his sisters as “phenomenal”, she praised their energy in never giving up the campaign to have their brother released.

She said there was huge upheaval for them over the last four years, saying “their lives were turned upside down”, but that people had been “really supportive”.

“Even when Ibrahim was acquitted the number who contacted, offering their services, whether that was counselling or through respite care, to say anything we can do to help this young man who has been denied four years of his live,” she said.

Peter Greste, an Australian journalist who spent time in the same Egyptian prison as Ibrahim Halawa, said he was absolutely overjoyed to hear of his release.

Speaking on Irish radio, Mr Greste said he got to know Mr Halawa well during the five or six months he was his cellmate.

“I spent five or six months with Ibrahim in prison so I got to know him very well and recognised then there was nothing in the charges.

“Like us he was very much a victim of a political system and he deserved to be out as quickly as possible. It has taken far, far too long. So to know a guy I came to know so well in prison is at last released, is making me incredibly happy.”

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