Egypt frees Irish student protester after four years facing death

The Egyptian authorities have released an Irish citizen who was arrested at a protest at the age of 17, and who had been facing a death sentence.

Ibrahim Halawa, from Dublin, was 17 when he was arrested with hundreds of other people in 2013, as part of a crackdown on protests in Egypt. He was held in pre-trial detention for over four years, and reported being regularly tortured.

Ibrahim was tried as an adult alongside 493 other people, despite having been a juvenile at the time of his arrest. The mass trial – one of several to have taken place since 2013 – was frequently postponed. Hearings of the trial were criticised for failing to meet basic standards.

Maya Foa, Director of human rights organization Reprieve – which has been assisting Ibrahim – said:

“It is fantastic news, and long overdue, that Ibrahim is finally free. He and his family have been through an unimaginable ordeal, even though Ibrahim’s only ‘crime’ was to attend a protest. He must now be given time and space to recover with his family. Meanwhile, Egypt’s allies – including the UK and the US – must strongly urge Sisi to end the brutal repression that continues in the country, including mass trials and hundreds of unlawful death sentences.”