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    Ibrahim Halawa

    Irish Citizen Faces Death Penalty in Egypt as Family Call for 'New Strategy'

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    The sister of imprisoned Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa, who was arrested and detained in Egypt in 2013 by the army for allegedly taking part in a protest during the Muslim Brotherhood's "day of rage", has told Sputnik "it's time the Irish Government realized their strategy is not working."

    "I think it's time the Irish Government realized their strategy for the past two years is not working and that the Egyptian authorities need more pressure," Samir Halawa told Sputnik.

    Ibrahim Halawa from Dublin was arrested inside a mosque in Cairo for allegedly taking part in protest against Egypt's military dictatorship. He was 17 at the time of his arrest and stands accused of inciting violence, riot and sabotage, along with 400 other protesters.

    Mr. Halawa is now 20 years old and has been held in a Cairo prison without charge since 2013. He faces the death penalty on terrorism charges relating to the protest.

    A recent appeal by the Taoiseach for Mr. Halawa to be released under a youth amnesty scheme has been refused by the Egyptian government. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny wrote to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on November 17 after Mr. Halawa's trial had been delayed for the sixteenth time.

    ​"It's been two weeks since the Prime Minster of Ireland wrote to al-Sisi requesting a phone-call. There has been no response, no answer has been given," Samir Halawa told Sputnik who suggests that the Egyptian authorities are not taking Ireland's requests seriously enough.

    "Egyptian authorities are not realizing that the Irish government is working really hard for Ibrahim and there is a limit to their patience. They [Egyptian authorities] think the Irish government is calm about the situation and that's what delaying the process."

    ​Samir Halawa says her brother's self-esteem is "very low."

    "He just doesn't feel like he's an Irish citizen, every time his trial is postponed, he doesn't feel that that his own government is fighting hard enough for him."

    If found guilty, Mr. Halawa will face death by hanging, proceedings are due to start on the 12 December 2016.

    ​The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny wrote to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on 17 November asking for his immediate released. The Irish government wants Mr. Halawa to be formally pardoned under the same law that saw the release of three Al Jazeera journalists in 2015.


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