Belfast Telegraph

Dublin family's joy as Ibrahim Halawa acquitted in Egypt

By Staff Reporter

The sister of jailed Irishman Ibrahim Halawa has told of her family's delight at his acquittal in Egypt after four years in jail.

Nosayba Halawa said her brother and family have suffered a lot since his arrest over mass protests in Cairo in August 2013.

Mr Halawa (21), from Firhouse in Dublin, was cleared of all charges by a court in Egypt yesterday. It is unlikely he will be released immediately due to procedures within the Egyptian judicial and prison authorities.

His sister said she hopes he will be allowed back home soon.

"We couldn't believe (the news) after all the suffering. It is coming to an end. He will be very happy and delighted," Ms Halawa told RTE News.

She added: "I hope he is home very soon. He has suffered a lot and we have suffered a lot."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed Mr Halawa's acquittal.

He said he expected him to be released as soon as possible to return home to his family.

"The Government will facilitate his return home at the earliest opportunity," he said.

Mr Halawa's solicitor, Darragh Mackin of Belfast-based KRW Law, said: "Today marks the end to what has been a turbulent four years.

"Throughout that time Ibrahim Halawa and his family have tirelessly fought for his freedom - and today's verdict is a true testament to their hard work and dedication. Ibrahim and his family have been vindicated by today's verdict."

Mr Halawa, a student and son of a prominent Muslim cleric in Dublin - Sheikh Hussein Halawa - was jailed after being detained in a mosque near Ramses Square in Cairo four years ago amid protests over the removal of president Mohamed Morsi. He was 17 at the time.

He has been cleared of all charges.

His three sisters, Somaia, Fatima and Omaima were also arrested but later released on bail and returned to Dublin.

All three, who were tried in absentia, were also acquitted.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the Government had been hoping for this good news.

"Ibrahim Halawa's name has been cleared and his innocence is confirmed. I look forward to him being released from custody without delay," he said.

After his release Mr Halawa will not be able to return to Ireland immediately, due to security and immigration status issues.

Belfast Telegraph

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