Belfast Telegraph

Mother of Irish siblings left 'shaken' after visiting them in Cairo

By Fiona Ellis

The mother of the four Irish siblings detained in Egypt visited her children for the first time since they were arrested.

Yesterday morning, Amina Mostafa met with her three daughters, Omaima (20), Fatima (22) and Somaia Halawa (27), and on Saturday visited her son Ibrahim (17).

The Halawa siblings had travelled from Dublin to Egypt for their summer holidays. They were arrested after joining Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations against the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi.

The girls are being held together in Al Qanatir, a female prison in Cairo, but Ibrahim has been separated from his sisters and is being detained in a military building where he is receiving treatment for wounds to his hands.

Their older sister, Nosayba, said her mother was left shaken by the visits.

She said the three sisters were supporting each other in prison but Ibrahim was frightened and alone.

Amina visited her teenage son for around 15 minutes on Saturday morning. Their conversation was recorded by the guards.

Ibrahim told her he was frightened by rumours circulating in the base. She said he was afraid to speak his mind.

Scared

"He is scared because there are rumours. They told him they are going to leave him here until the end of the month, and they will open the door and they will say people were trying to run and they are going to kill all the people here."

The three sisters told their mother they are "okay" in prison when they got to talk for around 25 minutes yesterday.

She said her mother was very upset. "Today she said to me, 'After I met them yesterday I didn't feel good'. She was upset. It was a shock for her to see them wearing white. She didn't expect it. Usually in Egypt people wear those clothes in jail when they are murderers."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was continuing to offer consular assistance to the family, but couldn't go into details.

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