Amnesty calls for release of Irish teenager being held in Egypt

Ibrahim Halawa, left, with his sisters Somaia, Fatima and Omaima

Amnesty International Ireland is calling for the immediate release of a Dublin teenager being held in an Egyptian prison following his arrest over a year ago.

Eighteen-year-old Ibrahim Halawa from Firhouse in Dublin was arrested while protesting in Cairo against the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

Mr Halawa has yet to stand trial but the collapse of a mass court case last week with over 400 defendants has prompted him to go on hunger strike.

Ibrahim and three of his sisters were detained after the al-Fath mosque in which they had taken refuge was stormed by security forces of the interim military-led administration, which were engaged in a crackdown against members of the Morsi-aligned Muslim Brotherhood.

Ibrahim's sisters Somaia, Fatima and Omaima were held for three months before being freed and allowed to return to Ireland. However Ibrahim was ordered to face trial.

Executive director of Amnesty International Colm O'Gorman said there was no evidence Mr Halawa was involved in any criminal or violent activity at the time of his arrest.

"First of all (he) is a prisoner of conscience. He's held for no other reason than that he exercised freedom of expression," he said.

"We had researchers on the ground at the time...and we don't find in any way credible suggestions by the security forces that people inside the (al-Fath) mosque fired on them.

"We are calling for his immediate and unconditional release and for all charges against him to be dropped."

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