Irishman freed after four years in Egyptian jail

Irishman freed after four years in Egyptian jail

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An Irishman who has spent more than four years in an Egyptian prison has been freed.

Ibrahim Halawa, a 21-year-old from Dublin, was released from jail in Cairo – more than four weeks after he was acquitted of all charges related to a mass protest over the removal of then Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

A message on the Free Ibrahim Halawa Facebook page welcomed his release and said plans for his repatriation were being made.

“Fantastic news, Ibrahim has finally been released from prison. We will now begin to make arrangements to bring him home where he belongs in Ireland,” it said.

“We can’t thank enough all those who worked so hard for Ibrahim’s release, we owe you all so much.”

Image: Mr Halawa, from Dublin, was 17 at the time of his arrest

Mr Halawa and his three sisters were detained in Cairo’s al Fath mosque when they took refuge there during the demonstrations in August 2013.

While his siblings Somaia, Fatima and Omaima were eventually released, Mr Halawa was charged with murder and attempted murder.

He was 17 at the time.

Mr Halawa was cleared last month of all charges connected to the Muslim Brotherhood’s so-called Day of Rage.

The student and son of a prominent Muslim cleric in Dublin – Sheikh Hussein Halawa – he was prosecuted in a mass trial.

Ibrahim Halawa.

Video: 2014: Family campaign for Ibrahim’s release

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, said on Twitter: “Delighted 2 confirm Ibrahim Halawa has been released, being supported by family+Embassy. Some formalities still required before flying home.”

Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan, who campaigned on his behalf, tweeted: “Great news coming out of Cairo. #IbrahimHalawa is free – 4 years of illegal imprisonment, but now focus is on getting him home #FreeIbrahim.”

Darragh Mackin, Mr Halawa’s solicitor, said: “Ibrahim Halawa is finally a free man.”

Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins, also welcomed the news during a trip to Australia.

“The release of Ibrahim Halawa will come as a great relief to his family,” he said.

“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.”

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