Sunday, 6 April 2014

Irish teen locked up in Egypt jail fears execution

Ibrahim Halawa

A YOUNG Irish citizen locked up in an Egyptian jail has considered a hunger strike amid fears that he will be executed.

Teenager Ibrahim Halawa is forced to drink water from a toilet, endure threats of violence from guards and spend 23 hours daily in a cell with 64 other prisoners.
Ibrahim, the son of Sheikh Hussein Halawa, the Imam of Ireland's largest mosque, was arrested in Cairo last August, along with his sisters Somaia, 28, Omaima, 21, and Fatima, 23. The siblings had travelled toEgypt from their home in Ballycullen, Co Dublin, earlier in the summer for a holiday.
However, the four were forced to seek sanctuary in the Al Fateh mosque after violent clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and the security forces.
Ibrahim, a Leaving Certificate student at the Institute of Education on Dublin's Leeson Street, and his siblings were subsequently jailed in Tora prison and held in separate sections.
While Ibrahim's sisters were released on November 15 last year, their teenage brother was kept in prison and has now been held for over seven months without being charged with any offence.
His family says he believes he may face execution, following the decision by a judge two weeks ago to hand down the death penalty to 529 people accused of rioting.
Ibrahim's sister Omaima this weekend described the horrific conditions her younger brother must endure in one of country's toughest adult prisons, Al-Marg in Cairo, where disease and overcrowding are rampant.
She told the Sunday Independent: "He gets really down within himself but when news came through that 529 were to be executed, he was shocked – he has no idea what his fate will be. It's particularly worrying because the cases of those people sentenced to death aren't much different to his.
"The hardest part for him is all this waiting, because you have to remember he's very young. He turned 18 while in prison.
"In general, prisons in Egypt are extremely tough places, but for men they are much worse. Then there are political people who are treated ten times worse again then normal prisoners.
"Sometimes they're given one hour a day to exercise, but if the officer is not happy with them, he won't let them out at all. The remaining 23 hours is spent in his cell."

Source-Irish Independent

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