Detention of Ibrahim Halawa
Sir, – I was saddened to learn that a “forgotten” Irish teenager is still in jail. I am a personal friend of the Halawa family in Clonskeagh. Ibrahim Halawa, who is only 18 years of age and a brilliant student (all straight As in his Leaving Cert), was due to start an engineering course in Trinity College Dublin. When qualified he would be a tremendous asset to his native Egypt or Ireland if he decided to live and work here. He is an all-round sportsman. He excelled in rugby and soccer in Clonskeagh. He also excelled in equestrian sports, especially showjumping.
He went with his family to Egypt on a holiday after his Leaving Cert and got caught up in a riot in Cairo, which is his native city, and only a few blocks away from his house. Like all inquisitive teenagers he and his sisters walked over to see what the riot was about. The rest is history and he was arrested and is still in jail.
I love Egypt and I spent some time in Cairo learning Arabic and studying Sharia law. I have many friends among the Muslim Brotherhood and among the present government in Egypt. I have also friends in the Egyptian embassy in Dublin.
The Halawa family are an exceptional family and Ibrahim is unique. Ibrahim is just starting off in life and I am prepared to contact the prison authorities and negotiate directly with them. They have a difficult job to do. Egyptians are a very friendly people and I loved my stay there. I have promised to return there soon and renew acquaintances.
I hope the prison authorities will allow a young man who was probably misguided to join his family in Ireland and to continue his studies. For showing humanitarian concern and compassion for Ibrahim and for his family, their gesture would have an everlasting effect and they would have the admiration of the whole world. – Yours, etc,
Whitehall Road, Dublin 12.