Egypt detainee begs to be buried home in Ireland

Egypt detainee begs to be buried home in Ireland
Egyptian-Irish detainee Ibrahim Halawa has begged to be buried in Ireland if he does not make it out of his incarceration alive, in an emotional letter to his home country.
4 min read
04 December, 2016
Halawa was only 17 years old at the time of his arrest [Facebook]

An Egyptian-Irish detainee in Egypt has written an emotional letter detailing his three years in detention and begging to be buried in Ireland if he does not make it out of prison alive.

Ibrahim Halawa was detained in Cairo during a demonstration against the violent dispersal of two large sit-ins protesting the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in a 2013 military coup led by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was the defence minister at the time.

The bloody crackdown, later referred to as the Rabaa Massacre, left over 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters dead after security forces opened fire to disperse the demonstrators.

Halawa, who was born and raised in Dublin, was only 17-years-old at the time of his arrest.

His pre-trial detention has been renewed 16 times since his arrest, and he is facing trial on charges of terrorism along with over 400 defendants. If convicted, Halawa will be sentenced to death.

Dear Ireland

"Dear Ireland," the letter reads, "I have been taken away from you for so long. But I miss you dearly. It's really out of my hands."

"I just can't understand why they have kidnapped me away from you."

Halawa had previously complained about the torture and abuse he was subjected to in prison.

According to his sister Somaia Halawa, who spent some time with him in detention before being released with two other siblings, Halawa has been electrocuted and beaten by authorities during his time in incarceration.

One final wish, I beg from you, if I die away from you take me back from them to be buried in your soil to feel your goodbye tears.

"Ireland, I really need to complain to you about how one human enjoys torturing another human, the continued injustice, the oppression and the killing of the innocent," he said in his letter.

In a final wish, Halawa begged to return to Ireland for burial if he did not make it out of prison alive.

"One final wish, I beg from you, if I die away from you take me back from them to be buried in your soil to feel your goodbye tears."

'Outrageous violation'

In response to Sisi's recent presidential pardon for 82 detainees - excluding Halawa - Amnesty International responded by reiterating its calls for his immediate and unconditional release from prison.

"Ibrahim's ongoing detention is an outrageous violation of this young Irish citizen's rights," Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland said at the time.

"Amnesty International remains gravely concerned for his physical and mental wellbeing. We urge the Irish Government to continue to use every diplomatic and political mechanism to secure his release."

During this time, the Irish citizen has launched a hunger strike and had the UN intervene on his behalf.

However, all attempts to secure his release to date have been unsuccessful.

[Click to enlarge]

Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan last month expressed concern after Halawa's trial was adjourned to 13 December, saying his priority was to see his return to Ireland as soon as possible.

"Our understanding is that the trial has been adjourned until 13 December as a number of the defendants were not present in the court," said Flanagan.

"This is linked to heightened security concerns in Cairo, following planned protests in recent days."

The minister added that the Irish government would continue to use "every possible opportunity to underline our concerns" about this case to the Egyptian authorities, both "bilaterally and with the EU and other partners".

"Ibrahim's lawyers have submitted an application for his return to Ireland under Egypt's Decree 140 Law, and the government is giving this initiative its full support," he said.

Flanagan added that he was in touch with his Egyptian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, to endorse the application for Ibrahim's immediate release.

"I discussed the case with Minister Shoukry most recently on 1 November, when I once again repeated our call for this citizen's immediate return to Ireland."