Sir, – I have known the Halawa family for a number of years. Ibrahim, who is at present in a prison in Cairo, is an excellent young man. He is an all-round sportsman. He is loved by everyone. He did exceptionally well in his Leaving Cert and he was offered a place in Trinity College Dublin to do engineering. After getting the good news of his results, he went to Cairo to inform his family there. He was “over the moon”, as people would say, with getting a place on the engineering course in Trinity. There was a disturbance at the end of the street where he was living and he went down to see what it was about. A more mature person would not have done that. He was only 17 at the time.
I am prepared to go to Egypt and visit the authorities in prison and beg them on my knees to release him. I am prepared to give a guarantee that he will not cause trouble ever again. He has apologised unreservedly to the Egyptian authorities. He has also promised to spend some time in Egypt when he receives his engineering degree to help build Cairo.
If necessary I am prepared to replace him in prison on Cairo. He is a young man with his whole life before him and he has great potential.
Let us remember that great Arabic phrase, “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. – Yours, etc,
Fr SEAMUS FLEMING ,