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Call for Irish teenager to be released by Egypt

Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa could face the death penalty in Egypt
Connla Young

A solicitor representing a Dublin-born teenager who potentially faces the death penalty in Egypt has called for his immediate release.

Darragh Mackin claims 19-year-old Ibrahim Halawa has been tortured since he was arrested in the country two years ago.

The Irish citizen is currently on hunger strike to draw attention to his plight.

Mr Mackin, who works for KRW Law in Belfast, last night accused Egypt of multiple breaches of international obligations.

Mr Halawa's legal team say he was arrested after he sought refuge in a Cairo mosque during street clashes two years ago while on holiday in Egypt, where his parents were born.

He now awaits a mass trial, along with 493 other people, and could face the death penalty.

It is also feared he will not be allowed to attend the trial and will not be able to hear or see witnesses against him or give instructions to his Egyptian lawyer.

Mr Mackin, who also represents the Hooded Men, said his client has faced a catalogue of cruel treatment including a gunshot wound to his hand for which he was denied treatment.

He said the teenager has been left in fear of his life after prison guards told him he would be executed.

“Ibrahim's welfare in Egyptian detention is a matter of grave concern," he said.

"He has now undertaken a hunger strike, in a desperate attempt to campaign for his freedom from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

“Ibrahim is an Irish citizen and there is a clear moral and legal obligation on the Irish government to ensure that he is protected and treated in accordance with international law. More must be done by the Irish government – and it must be done now, before it is too late.”

The teenager's sister, Somaia Halawa, said her brother's health is being affected.

“I want Ibrahim home,” she said. “His mental state is deteriorating by the day and I am terrified about whether I will ever see him again.

Mr Mackin said the legal team wants a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the minister for foreign affairs, Charlie Flanagan.

Mr Flanagan has previously said he has personally raised concerns about the case with the Egyptian government and officials are actively working on the case.

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