Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen in Egypt’s notorious prisons, has witnessed fresh abuse from the prisons’ guards.
The Guardian has published a new letter sent by Ibrahim Halawa who unveiled that he has suffered beatings and racist abuse from prison guards, as reported by Reprieve
, a human rights organization.
Halawa said that prisoners are held in harsh conditions where they are forced to watch each other being tortured. According to Halawa,”prisoners are also stripped and made to endure prison guards jumping on our backs from one prisoner to the next.”
He added that he misses everything about Ireland and he is “sad about not seeing my dad, who is old and ill and my beautiful kind sisters. ”
Halawa was 17 years old when he was arrested in August in the wake of the protests that erupted against the military coup in 2013.Despite being a juvenile at the time of his arrest,he has been facing a potential death sentence.
Halawa faces a mass trial alongside 493 other people. He has been held in poor conditions and denied access to his family and lawyer.
In his letter, Ibrahim writes that the mass trial “has not moved one step forward” since his arrest, adding that in hearings “I can’t speak to the judge; he can’t ask me any questions. I can’t speak to my lawyer; my lawyer can’t speak to me. My family are constantly refused entry to the court.”
In fact, Ibrahim Halawa’s mass trial has been postponed more than once since 2013, and at the most recent hearing, the judge is understood to have postponed proceedings again until 2 October 2016.
In this context, the Irish Government has supported calls for Ibrahim’s release, saying in June this year that he should be “freed by the Egyptian authorities so that he can return to his family and his studies in Ireland as soon as possible.”
In a report published last month, a group of British legal experts, the Bar Human Rights Committee, called for Ibrahim’s “immediate transfer” home to Ireland, saying that Egypt’s treatment of him “constitutes a serious breach of international law.”
Since the military coup in 2013 that ousted the first democratically elected President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi,the Egyptian authorities led a massive crackdown on political opposition. Moreover,Egypt’s system of mass trials has seen thousands of protestors, journalists, and opposition activists imprisoned, and has been condemned by many human rights organizations and activists.
Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve human rights organization,which is assisting Ibrahim said,“It’s chilling to hear of the appalling abuses Ibrahim and other prisoners are suffering daily, while they await a mass trial which could see them sentenced to death next month. Ibrahim was a juvenile when he was arrested, and he has been through a horrifying, illegal ordeal which must end now. His heartbreaking words about how much he misses his family and his home country must not fall on deaf ears – Egypt must release him without delay, along with the hundreds of prisoners who were rounded up with him.”