Irish-Americans Take Up Case of Ibrahim Halawa

Posted By: June 30, 2017

 Concern for young, innocent Dublin Muslim in Egyptian prison

CAPITOL HILL. Thursday, June 29, 2017— The case of a Dublin-born Muslim juvenile imprisoned in Egypt—innocently caught up in wrong place at wrong time— is being raised on Capitol Hill.

Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish teenager, was on a family holiday in Egypt when he became caught up in the chaos that engulfed the country in the summer of 2013. The 17-year- old and his three older sisters were arrested and charged with the most serious offenses, including murder, arising out of a protest at Ramses Square, Cairo. Ibrahim’s sisters were released shortly after their detention but, 46 months later, he remains in prison awaiting trial along with 493 others.

Ibrahim’s case has now been taken up by the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, which has been raising worthy cases —and the human rights of people on the island of Ireland— in the U.S. Congress for over 40 years.
Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President of the Irish National Caucus, explained: “We were contacted by Ibrahim’s attorney — Darragh Mackin, Kevin Winters Law Firm, Belfast— and asked to help via his ‘Petition To Irish National Caucus On Behalf Of Ibrahim Halawa.’ In 45 years in America, I’ve never said no to such a request, whether it was for a Catholic or Protestant from Northern Ireland. And I certainly could not say no to a young Dublin-born Muslim lad who had gone on a family holiday to Cairo and was innocently caught up in civil unrest. His three older sisters were released, underscoring his innocence, but he himself is still detained.

How can such an obvious injustice be of benefit to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington? Surely, the Egyptian Embassy has no interest in being seen as colluding with the oppression of a young Irish person who was falsely imprisoned while still a teenager. I appeal to Members of Congress and to the Egyptian Embassy to help to restore Ibrahim to his family in Dublin.”

A joint motion for a resolution was passed before the European Parliament calling for Ibrahim’s release. And a cross -party motion was passed before Dáil Eireann ( Irish Parliament) calling for Ibrahim’s release. This cross- party motion was subsequently followed by a cross- party delegation of parliamentary members (TDs) visiting Ibrahim and the Egyptian President in Cairo, and in calling for his release.

Attorney Mackin — in his ‘Petition To Irish National Caucus On Of Ibrahim Halawa’ —explains: “There remains a constitutional provision within the Egyptian domestic legal system that allows for the deportation of a foreign citizen, should it be in the interests of the state. This power, known as the Presidential Decree (Law 140) has been utilized in the past in such cases as Peter Greste (The Australian Al Jazeera Journalist) and Mohammed Soltan  (The American Citizen) when such international pressure compels the release of prisoners who have been detained in controversial circumstances such as Ibrahim’s. The press release that accompanied the introduction of the Presidential Decree in 2014 is of note: 
”The president issued a law on Wednesday allowing (him) to agree to surrender and transport non-Egyptian convicts and suspects to their countries to be tried or have their punishment implemented,” the official news agency MENA said. 
”This decision comes in the framework of upholding the nation’s interests and preserving Egypt’s international image…,” MENA quoted presidential spokesman Alaa Yousef as saying.