Ibrahim Halawa returns to Ireland after four years in Egyptian prison

Halawa poses with his father Hussein Halawa as he arrives at Dublin Airport

An Irish man was released from Egyptian prison last Friday after he was acquitted of charges including murder, arson and illegal possession of weapons.

Ibrahim Halawa was detained in Egypt for more than four years on charges related to a Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo in 2013.

Mr Halawa, who is from Dublin, was tried along with nearly 500 defendants, many of whom received sentences up to life in prison, in a mass trial that was heavily criticised by human rights groups as unfair.

Only 52 of the defendants, including Halawa, have been acquitted.

Mr Halawa who was 17 at the time, and his three sisters were detained in Cairo’s al-Fath Mosque when they took refuge there during the demonstrations in August 2013.

While his siblings Somaia, Fatima and Omaima were eventually released, Mr Halawa was charged with murder and attempted murder.

He was cleared last month of all charges connected to the Muslim Brotherhood’s so-called “Day of Rage” after Mohamed Morsi was removed via a military coup.

A message on the Free Ibrahim Halawa Facebook page welcomed his release and said plans for his repatriation were being made.

They posted: “Fantastic news, Ibrahim has finally been released from prison. We will now begin to make arrangements to bring him home where he belongs in Ireland.

“We can’t thank enough all those who worked so hard for Ibrahim’s release, we owe you all so much.”

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, said on Twitter: “Delighted 2 confirm Ibrahim Halawa has been released, being supported by family Embassy. Some formalities still required before flying home.”

Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins, also welcomed the news during a trip to Australia.

He said: “The release of Ibrahim Halawa will come as a great relief to his family.

“It will be welcomed by all those who were concerned for him in his long ordeal of imprisonment.

“I wish Ibrahim Halawa well on his journey home.”

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