Ibrahim Halawa: ‘If I die away from you take me back from them’

21-year-old, detained in Egypt for more than three years, writes letter from prison cell

Ibrahim Halawa: ‘I really need to complain to you about how one human enjoys torturing another human’

Ibrahim Halawa: ‘I really need to complain to you about how one human enjoys torturing another human’

 

Ibrahim Halawa, the 21-year-old Irish citizen who has been imprisoned in Egypt for more than three years without trial, has written an open letter to Ireland from his prison cell.

Mr Halawa, who was arrested during protests in the capital in August 2013, has had his trial adjourned 16 times.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has raised the case numerous times with his Egyptian counterpart, and it is understood EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has also raised the case with Cairo. But the longer Halawa has remained in prison, the more criticism the Government has faced - in particular for its position of refraining from public criticism of Egypt.

The letter, issued by his family, reads:

“Dear Ireland,

I really don’t know what to say, I have been taken away from you for so long. But I miss you dearly. It’s really out of my hands. I can’t understand, I just can’t understand why they have kidnapped me away from you. So young I was while you were teaching me how to live, laugh, love and care. But they have taken me away before you had the time to teach me how to struggle, how to deal with evil and hatred.

When I was young I used to run to you whenever I was sad and needed to complain about my humongous kiddie problems. The time my Mum delayed getting me the latest PlayStation game when all the other friends had it. Or when I wasn’t allowed stay out late at night. And when I entered secondary school and exams were much tougher than before. Or that time I came to complain about my first teenage love.

Do you remember when I came running to you crying about the kid who screamed at me saying “go back to your country” and as usual you were crying rain and I was relieved because you were sharing my crying. But now that I’m growing up away from you and banned from talking to you, who am I supposed to complain to now that my kiddie worldly problems turned out to be just a drop in the ocean.

Ireland, I really need to complain to you about how one human enjoys torturing another human, the continued injustice, the oppression and the killing of the innocent. Ireland I’m lusting to walk on the sand of Bray beach, screaming freedom from the top of the Cliffs of Moher, your rainforest trees to hug me tight and make me feel safe again and that kind bus driver on the daily commute, smiling at me even thought he does not know me.

Ireland I really want to complain to you about the people my parents voted for, to protect me in any land and under any sky, and have failed to bring me back to you. Now I understand that you were not crying this rains with me but you were crying because of what the world holds for me

One final wish, I beg from you, if I die away from you take me back from them to be buried in your soil to feel your goodbye tears.”

Ibrahim Halawa,

Wadi el Natroun Prison

29/11/2016”