Halawa sisters reunited with family in Cairo after release

Decision on fate of brother Ebraheem expected today

A family handout photo of Irish siblings 
(left to right)Ebraheem Halawa with sisters Fatima, Omaima and Soumaia.

A family handout photo of Irish siblings (left to right)Ebraheem Halawa with sisters Fatima, Omaima and Soumaia.

Sat, Nov 16, 2013, 12:50


The Halawa sisters, who have spent almost four months in detention in Egyptian prisons after being arrested during clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces, were last night reunited with family members in Cairo.

Their release yesterday is the latest significant step towards the end of an ordeal for the Irish family which began after they took refuge in Cairo’s Al Fateh mosque during the violence. They had been in the country for a summer holiday and to visit family.

Speaking to The Irish Times last night, Nosayba Halawa said she had just spoken directly with her sisters Omaima (21), Soumaia (28) and Fatima (22) for the first time. She said they were “okay” but had no further information as to what condition they were in.

“I have heard they were kept in the one room for two months without leaving. I don’t know exactly what condition they are in.”


Brother imprisoned
Their brother Ebraheem (17) is still imprisoned but Ms Halawa said she had been informed that a decision on his fate is expected today.

“We will know tomorrow about Ebraheem,” she said.

“The solicitor said the decision will be made then. Sometimes they say it will be delayed but we are hoping it will be Saturday – that’s what they have said.

There were no immediate plans for the sisters to leave the country last night but the Irish embassy has issued the family with new passports .

“I’m not sure what the plans are now,” said Ms Halawa. “We have only just spoken to them and it was only for a few seconds. I welcomed them.”

She said her sister and brother had been in front of the police station in Egypt for the duration of yesterday after being informed their sisters had been brought there as part of the final stage of processing their release.

Ms Halawa said she did not know if the release of her sisters was unconditional or not.