Ibrahim Halawa denies involvement in Muslim Brotherhood

Ibrahim Halawa has denied any involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood, writes Sally Gorman.

He said: "Of course I'm not with the Muslim Brotherhood, at 17 you don't know what that is."

Appearing on tonight's Late Late show with Ryan Tubridy the 21-year-old said it was not a Brotherhood rally he attended and that he did not go to Egypt to be politically active, it just happened by accident.

Halawa revealed that he was supposed to go to Ibiza on a Leaving Cert holiday with his friends that summer but his father insisted he visit family in Egypt.

He said: "You haven't been to Egypt, at least go and say hello before Ibiza."

According to Halawa, "normal 17-year-olds don't care about politics" but when he ended up at a protest "it all happened quite fast" and he got involved.

Ibrahim revealed that the killing of two of his friends was the motivation behind his involvement.

He said: "I was going back to a concert and my friends were going to graves."

Ibrahim admitted that he went on several hunger strikes during his four year imprisonment in Egypt.

On one particular occasion he made decision after guards beat him in front of his mother.

He told Ryan: "You forget the pain of your beatings but remember the pain of your mother."

Since his return, Halawa has been asked how he looks so healthy despite his hunger striking, to which he responded: "I've been off hunger strike for five months."

The Dubliner also spoke of the harsh conditions in the nine different prisons he was in during his time as a prisoner.

He revealed that prison food contained worms and cockroaches and was served in a crisp bag.

But laughed that after hunger striking "you would dream of BBQ cockroaches."

He went on to explain that prisoners were forced to swap places to sleep.

He said: "Half would sit for half an hour then we would swap."

Beatings were also part of his daily routine.

He said: "every soldier has a different weapon to hit you with.

"You're getting beaten with metal chains, bars, electric wires, sticks."

Since returning home, Ibrahim has had to deal with "haters" online.

He cannot comprehend why haters still proceed to follow him on social media.

On top of this, his mother is very ill and "starting chemo."

Halawa told Ryan his plans for the future, how he intends to write a book and continue his education.

He also said he will fight to bring falsely imprisoned people home because "it was so hard for my family to pay for tickets."

The Firhouse native concluded by saying he will "never ever, ever, ever, again go back to Egypt."


 

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