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Three years ago this week, Dubliner Ibrahim Halawa was sitting as leaving cert in the Institute of Education near Stephen's Green in Dublin.
But by the end of summer 2013, the Leaving CERT was the last thing on his mind as he faced charges that included the death penalty in Egypt that summer had become a place of mass protest, civil unrest and government crackdowns and.
Shortly after his leaving cert, 17 year old Ibrahim left the family home and Ferr had stolen and traveled to Egypt with his mother and three sisters 12 months later.
Ibrahim would be sitting in a jail cell with journalist and Australian national Peter Greste on the door swings open with no warning in.
This Egyptian looking guy walks in and is a slight Irish accent. I like no sense whatsoever. It was a very weird, weird kind of contradiction until he explained he introduced himself as Ibrahim Halawa.
Until now, Peter has remained largely tight lipped about Ibrahim's case. His reasoning was simple. Knowing what he knows about the Egyptian justice system, he feared speaking. I may do more harm than good. But now, ahead of Ibrahim's June 29 court hearing, Peter Greste there once for the first time to tell his story behind bars.
But Ibrahim Halawa, you know, he and I are very different characters. I like him a lot, but not the kind of people that we would who would naturally gravitate to one another if we're outside of prison. But, you know, I came to I came to like him.
This story begins in 1995 in Ireland. It was the warmest summer on record that December. U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Dublin and spoke to 80000 people in college green. On December 13th, in the nearby Coom Hospital, a baby boy was born to Egyptian parents Hussein and Amin Halawa.
He was the youngest of seven children and his name was Ibrahim that same year.
Peter Greste, who was 30 years old and working as a conflict correspondent for the BBC in Afghanistan.
And it was my first proper foreign assignment, my first proper job as a war correspondent, as a conflict correspondent. So it was a full on, full on war zone. And then the Taliban came through. And so we saw the emergence of the Taliban. You know, that year was incredibly important to me, professionally and personally, because I learned I learned a lot about the kinds of stories that you needed to do, about how to move around, how to how to work and how to stay alive.
Most importantly, there was a really important.
Over the next 20 years, and until his arrest in Egypt in December 2013, Peter worked as a correspondent for Reuters, the BBC and Al Jazeera winning praise for his work from the front lines throughout that same period.
Ibrahim Halawa grew up in the southwest Dublin suburb of Fernholz, just off the mufti. He went to the local Holy Rosary National School before going on to the fee paying secondary schools of Rock Brook in Rock Farnam and then the Institute of Education on Lisson Street for his leave insert. Grown up, Ibrahim regularly traveled to Egypt, it was the country of his family's heritage, both his life and his friends were based in Jordan, like a lot of other countries.
Less than a month after Ibrahim finished his leave in search, he was speaking on stage in Cairo at an Egyptians abroad for democracy.
Radical Islamic regime is in an hour in. It is this conflicted identity that is marked out Ibrahim's case from the very beginning. Ibrahim and his three sisters were arrested on Friday, August 16, 2013, just two days later. He should have been celebrating an offer to study engineering and Trinity, but he was making headlines here at home. Well, the trauma of Egypt continues with more violence over the weekend, though, the focus has shifted to the fates of the four Halawa siblings arrested in the Fattah mosque on Saturday.
They're the children of the imam at the mosque before that news emerged. We spoke to journalist Rebecca Collard in Cairo. I asked her what she knew of the situation and the fate of the HALLOA family.
They were among the protesters inside the mosque when security forces stormed it on Saturday and they were taken into custody, along with a number of other people. And now we know that the Irish authorities have been in contact with Egyptian authorities and have confirmed that these people are in detention Saturday as they arrive. Things were a bit calm and then all of a sudden a barrage of gunfire outside of the mosque.
And eventually, after their arrest for Halawa, siblings were loaded into lorries.
And then eventually Ibrahim's three sisters would spend three months in prison before being released. However, Ibrahim was charged along with 493 orders with offences reported of murder, attempted murder and participating in an illegal protest. Ibrahim was already five months in prison when Peter Greste arrived in Egypt in December 2013 within days of Peter's arrival. Protests intensified when the former government party, the Muslim Brotherhood, was declared a terrorist organization.
Late Friday was always going to be a day of confrontation, a test of wills between Egypt's anti-government protesters and the police. It came two days after the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist group. The Interior Ministry warned that anyone who joins protests supporting the Brotherhood would be imprisoned for five years on charges of promoting terrorist ideology.
The Muslim Brotherhood are a political organisation who promote Islam as a way of life, and not just the religion they've been accused of using violence to oppose Western influence. The government's crackdown on the Brotherhood was aimed at dealing with what officials here believe to be a threat to state security and national stability. But if these confrontations continue as the protesters promise, they will have had the opposite effect. Peter Greste, Al Jazeera, Cairo. Just two days later, Peter found out that he was deemed a threat to state security and national stability when someone knocked on his hotel room door.
What unfolded led him to a jail cell with Ibrahim Halawa eye open, cracked open the door, and even before I could pull it open, it was shoved in and I was pushed back by by this pile of guys who tumbled into the room.
I don't know how many there were. It felt like a lot. They pushed me back across the room, asked me if I'm Peter Greste. My name is Mr Peter. And I said, yes, who are you? And they didn't respond. It was completely silent. There was a lot of discussion in Arabic and the guy obviously in charge of them was issuing orders. And they went through quite quietly but very efficiently, searching the room, searching all of my equipment.
And I kept demanding to know who they were. There was a guy among them in the team with the camera who kept filming everything, filming me, filming the equipment that I had. I kept demanding to know who they were with the police when they had a warrant or the guy said, Can you read Arabic? And I said, no, of course not. And he said, well, then you won't be able to to read it. And I said, well, find me someone you can pick who can interpret and then match me with all the equipment out of the room.
They said, you come with us.
Association with the Muslim Brotherhood surrounded the arrest of Ibrahim Halawa and Peter Greste. In Peter's case, a police recording of his arrest was played on Egyptian TV.
Well, I need you to tell me anything, if you can read the full text on. This is how Egyptian television conveyed the interrogation of Peter Greste and his colleagues. Peter was arrested with two other Al Jazeera colleagues and charged with spreading false news and aiding the newly outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. When Ibrahim Halawa arrived in Egypt in mid-June 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood had been in power for a year. They were the country's first democratically elected government, and many believe that was the beginning of a new era for Egypt.
In July 2013, within weeks of Ibrahim's arrival, the Brotherhood was overthrown by the Egyptian military. In the midst of this upheaval, Ibrahim and his sisters joined pro-democracy marches opposing the new military regime.
The question everyone back in Ireland was asking was, what were they doing there in the first place? Nocebo Halawa, Ibrahim's older sister, she was left to answer those questions.
Can I ask you, your siblings, why do they go to Egypt? Why were they in Egypt in the first place? In the first place?
They went. They went before everything started. Before that all started there once before that could happen, OK, they went for a regular summer holiday. And when they could happen, then everything started. They started because two of them of the digital media, they started trying to record. I'm trying to show the people what's happening in there. They tried to. Sure to show the people that this is a protest. But no, it's not. No one holding a gun or anything.
And it's just a peaceful protest.
So their sympathies lie with the Muslim Brotherhood, would that be correct? No, no. They wanted democracy and freedom. It doesn't it's not with the Brotherhood or no brotherhood. It's democracy and freedom. No.
To allow more time for investigations to be completed, the detention of four Irish citizens in a foreign country wasn't just a news story. It became a diplomatic issue for the Irish government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore.
This is a difficult situation. It is receiving the highest priority in the embassy and in Cairo. I'm being kept directly informed of developments and we are in regular contact with the family or not, because my primary concern obviously is for the welfare of our citizens. My understanding is, is that the conditions are as good as can be expected. But again, not, you know, not a pleasant place to to be. Eamon Gilmore was right when he said it wasn't a pleasant place to be just last week, on June 2nd, 2016, after more than a thousand days in the Egyptian prison system, a letter from Ibrahim was smuggled out of jail and printed in the Irish edition of the Times newspaper read here by a Dublin teenager.
I wake up every morning to the screams of prisoners being tortured and the echo of the bar landing on their bodies. We sleep here on the ground on Foldit that covers it in a cell with a big black, heavy, safe door.
The room is three and a half metres by five and a half metres with very old paint and three windows with bars, metal and wire. In the winter it's freezing and in the summer you die. During sandstorms, he breathes dust. The sale can have as many as 40 people on it as it was before, but now we are 12. Currently, I'm only eating fruit, so I'm very weak and I don't move much.
There are many ways I've been mistreated, cursing, beatings, solitary confinement, the tank convicts on the sweeper, head shaving, hunger strike, stripped, beaten with the back of an AK 47 guns pointed at my chest, sleeping on the ground, robbery and many more.
You might be wondering how some of these letters make it to the outside world. That's the question that Australian journalist Peter Greste can answer.
I don't quite know. I don't know exactly how Ibrahim management, but I know I wrote letters on toilet paper. You know, the guards would always give you a pat down search, a fairly close pat down search whenever they before you before you went out for prison visits, you know, they'd check your ears and hems of your clothing and, you know, give you a solid search for all of your body. But they were also a little bit squeamish about getting too intimate with the searches.
And so I found I found that if you wrote a letter on toilet paper and rolled it up quite tightly and then put it down inside your underwear, the guards, if they felt that there and it wouldn't have felt completely out of place. And so that was how I managed to get them out. And, you know, in the visit, you you'd make a move as if to scratch a scratch your groin and slip out the the role and pass it over to to the family member.
During his first 300 days in prison and ahead of his first trial date on August 12, 2014, Ibrahim Alawi's mother visited her son most Tuesdays in a maximum security scorpion prison on the outskirts of Cairo. Throughout this time, Ibrahim also received numerous visits from Irish embassy officials in Egypt, including the Irish ambassador.
An Irish citizen goes on trial in Egypt today, although the word trial doesn't convey how different the hearing will be from what we understand by that word. Ibrahim Halawa from Dublin, who's 18, will be in court with another 482 defendants. His sister, Samiah, is with me now. Good morning and welcome to CNN.
What he's charged with, as I said before, and you know, Ibrahim is being charged and they keep saying that he's charged, but there's no actual papers that actually and especially that the embassy has asked for many times for papers to for his file to look through.
But because Ibrahim was part of a mass trial seen in the courtroom were chaotic. The accused were all held in cages and dressed in white prison uniforms. And in an Egyptian courtroom, it was difficult to pick out the Dublin teenager from the crowd. The first trial date descended into fires when the judge walked out.
Well, now, Charlie Flannigan was the Irish foreign affairs minister tasked with the case yesterday, the following day, he spoke with Mary Wilson on Drivetime.
And there are a number of specific concerns arising out of his detention. Firstly, he was a minor. He was only 17 when he was arrested. No specific charges have been laid against him. There has been a long delay prior to trial. He is one of almost 500 people who are charged in general terms with involvement in street riots and criminal behaviour. I think it's essential, and I say this as somebody who doesn't wish to interfere in the jurisdiction of another state.
But I am I'm very much concerned at a number of issues surrounding the trial of.
Shortly after his first trial, Ibrahim Halawa was moved from Scorpion Prison to Tora Prison, and that's where he met Peter Greste, who by now had been eight months in jail. Ibrahim knew who he was before he even met.
Obviously, I'd never heard of him before. I knew nothing about him. And he came in with, you know, clothes and stuff to the few, the tiny, the few possessions that he had. We made room for him. We organised a bed for him. He was speaking Arabic, obviously, to everybody else in the cell, but then he and I had a chat and he explained his situation. You know, he told me how he'd been arrested, how he was inside the mosque, the mosque siege, about how the siege went on for several days, about how they were surrounded and and eventually raided and how he was arrested and thrown into prison.
You know how he was at that point. Getting incredibly frustrated and depressed, but also relieved to have been moved because I think he felt that being by being moved into prison along with us. Both the conditions had improved, but also it showed that that some of the pressure on the authorities was beginning to work, that they they recognized that he needed to be treated with some with some respect. Can you give me a sense of what his incarceration was like prior to his move?
I'm relaying conversations that go back almost two years now, but I know that he was talking about being in very crowded conditions, sometimes being beaten by the guards, abused by the guards. You know, the conversations we had from other people who went through scoping were any indication they were tough conditions, more open cages than prison cells that are pretty crowded, having to sleep on the floor. People always talking about rodents and cockroaches, rats, cockroaches and so on, that were always present around around the prison.
You're locked up inside a box for 23 hours a day. Did you develop a rapport straight away?
You know, he's Ibrahim for most of that year. He hadn't spoken English. And I think he was just really pleased to be with some English speaking guys. And, you know, it was good for him to to talk to me in English. And we spoke a lot about what he'd been up to. And, you know, how he you know, his life back in Ireland. Obviously, the young kid trying to find his way, trying to get a sense of purpose.
It was hard. You know, he's a young young guy who was losing some of the most important years of his life and his particularly his education. And so he felt that he's his right to freedom of speech was being stomped on, that he was being imprisoned because he was simply expressing the way he felt. You know, in that respect, we all felt a certain kinship. I felt we were imprisoned for much the same reason. Oh, inside the prison cell, the Australian journalist and the Irish student were living to the same soundtrack.
Oh. So the sort of wearing of the fans was it was a constant. The is a very large, cavernous place. So they tend to echo quite a lot of people, turn around and hear the sound of beds at night, people moving, talking and walking in the corridor outside the sound. There's a mosque outside the prison with some very loud speakers. And you could hear that, hear the call to prayer five times a day. Sometimes you'd hear the guards changing, changing over and orders being issued.
And in some.
Was Peter Toku Ibrahim under his wing? It was the younger of the two who put a fitness program in place towards the end of 2014, obviously there, and said there are about a dozen people in the cell at the time.
And so we went we each had our own ways of coping.
Each developed our own ways of dealing with it. I would get up in the morning fairly early, very early. In fact, I tried to wake generally around six o'clock, five thirty six and meditate for an hour.
The cell was opened up into the corridor around eight o'clock each morning.
And so as soon as the cell opened, I'd go out and pound up and down the corridor.
It's about 25 minutes long, 25, 30 meters long. I guess I just jog up and down that for 40, 45 minutes an hour when Abraham came in.
The others were also starting to run.
I remember Ibrahim had lost a lot of the fitness that he originally had, but he wanted to establish, again, a kind of rhythm, a kind of routine. And so. I remember in the evenings for him, we decided to to go through a sort of a circuit and he would he would lead that circuit for us in the evenings and just try and again, sit ups, press ups and squats.
You know, again, the kind of exercise you could do without having weights and having a gym, a proper gym to working in prison.
Ibrahim would talk about his life back in Ireland.
He was a very strong, fit young man.
And in Ireland he was into I mean, I have mixed martial arts fighting.
I remember saying eventually the authorities allowed the families to bring in some photographs. And I remember seeing some pictures of him back in Ireland.
I was a young guy with some girls and know obviously out partying, having a good time. So he I think he he really welcomed. Having having the opportunity to to talk to someone like me. To Egypt next, where charges. December 1st, 2014, the Ibrahim Halawa second trial days ago that ousted a pattern of trial adjournments was beginning to emerge and each adjournment brought his story back into the news. Angry protests.
He continued to write letters today. Almost 500 people arrested during a military crackdown on protests last year face a mass trial and the prospect of death sentences. Among them, Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa. Our reporter Jackie Fok spoke to some of his family in Dublin last night.
I need all notes and all advices. I can't stay back another year. Makeda for me, I needed to take care of yourself. I love you so much more.
Ibrahim Somaiya Halawa reading her brother Ibrahim's letter from prison in Cairo.
Because of efforts made by the Australian embassy inside the prison cell, Peter was given the luxury of some books which he was happy to share with Ibrahim.
Ibrahim was and was obviously very, very comfortable and very keen to get his hands on some of the books. And I had a ready supply of of novels, of books, on history books, on regional politics and books, on political philosophy and so on books on and on Buddhism. I remember actually I had quite a few books on Buddhism because Buddhism helped me a lot. Ibrahim was very interested in exploring some of those theological ideas, and although he was a committed Muslim, he was still interested in understanding a bit more about some of the Buddhist theology, Buddhist ideas.
Today to freedom Ibrahim enjoyed when he shared a cell with Peter appear to have been curtailed. After 1000 days in prison, the conditions that Ibrahim lives with are challenging for the now 20 year old, as outlined in this letter published last week during recess.
We go from a small cell to a longer cell and the cell has metal bars and wires on top, not cement. It's three meters by 15 meters and lasts two hours, though this differs in different prisons. Then we go back inside and get prison food that finds itself nowhere but the bin. For so long, I haven't seen green beans here. Come on cooked. So I planted some of them and tissue. It was breathtaking to see green. We read, write and sing.
I love to sing. I make them laugh. I'm not in prison to take anyone out of a bar. Depressed mood. I share memories of Ireland. We share a funny love stories. We daydream. We look at family photos over and over and over again. That is some of a normal day, they're not normal days off for another time. One of the more unusual differences between Ibrahim's case and Peter's case has been the role played by their families and in particular their fathers.
But members of both families have made numerous media appearances. Ibrahim's father, Imam Hussein Halawa, who is Ireland's most senior Muslim cleric, has been notably absent in his public support for his son. The reasons for this remain unclear. By comparison, the public support Peter received from his dad was critical in terms of how his story has been relayed. Almost immediately after his arrest, Juris Greste made a plea on television for his son's release to the Egyptian people and authorities.
We respectfully but passionately and fervently insist that Peter is completely innocent of all the allegations and charges against him. He is the innocent victim of the challenging times that Egypt is living through. We offer them all our compassion and goodwill. We trust he will be judged by his measured and carefully considered reporting of the events as he saw them as a highly seasoned and experienced international journalist. And as it went to air, Peter's family continue to articulate a neutral message that resonated.
Please release our son. He's done no wrong. It was a message that got through to our leaders that included President Obama, the issue of the Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt. We've been clear both publicly and privately that they should be released. And, you know, we have been troubled by some of the laws that have been passed around the world. By contrast to Ibrahim's pleas for freedom were muddied by accusations that the Halawa family had links with the Muslim Brotherhood who are now branded a terrorist organization.
This link has been denied by the Halawa family. Yet these accusations have shaped perspective on Ibrahim's case. Why did these Irish passport holders asked Kate choose to consort with Islamic terrorists?
Michael says, Is this what I'm paying my licence fee?
Faraci, now a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation akin to neo-Nazi Jim and Tullamore, says, I have a certain sympathy for this family in the suppression of democracy. But it's believed that the Muslim Brotherhood, after getting into power themselves, were trying to turn Egypt into another Iran. And many Christians. I have sympathy for the Egyptian family, somebody else, as I have to question why they became involved in a demonstration. Police question Muslim leaders on their attitude to Christianity.
They were given the option.
Ibrahim and Peter spend Christmas Day together in 2014. For Ibrahim, it was a warm reminder of his life back in Ireland.
I was very keen to to have some kind of Christmas dinner. Don't ask me how, but my family managed to convince the prison authorities to bring me in the leg of lamb and we managed to cook that. I remember we we made quite a bit of effort to create a really delicious like a roast leg of lamb. And we cooked some some vegetables and so on that we were able to get in again.
My family were able to convince the prison authorities that this was an important occasion. And again, bear in mind that Christmas for Ibrahim is very much more a cultural phenomenon than more than it is a religious one as a as a Muslim. But I remember him getting quite, quite nostalgic about Christmas in Ireland, about, you know, Christmas carols or Christmas decorations and so on Christmas traditions, even though they weren't part of his his own family, it was very much a part of the thing that he he loved and remembered about.
By January 2015, the campaign for Peter's release by his family and the wider media seem to be making inroads, and it was further talk of a decree that could lead to the journalist's release to date, Ibrahim's trial has been adjourned 13 times.
Back in January 2015, it was adjourned for just the third time, but even then it was beginning to have an effect on Ibrahim.
What was his mood like when he returned from the journalists are always frustrated, always quite depressed, and he felt that the Irish government needed to be a lot more active, a lot more forceful in the way, a lot more assertive in the way that they were dealing with the Egyptian authorities, rather than simply telling the Egyptians that they it was okay for them to allow the judicial process to take its course. You know, he saw that we were that our case, even though it was moving for us agonizingly slowly, at least it was moving, the trial had gone through and and we'd been convicted and sentenced.
And then we had lodged our appeal. And so there was a process with a series of steps that he could say for Abrahim every single time he was called to court, it was adjourned every single time. On the 1st of February 2015, Peter Greste was released after 400 days in prison. His story began to symbolise something more like Ibrahim. He, too, had written a letter from prison, one that was now being read out all over the world writing from prison.
Peter Greste has said, Our arrest does not seem to be about work at all. It seems to be about staking out what the government's here seems to consider normal and acceptable. Anyone who applauds the state is seen as safe and deserving of liberty. Anything else is a threat that needs to be crushed. After his release, Peter flew to Cyprus and then Australia there he was reunited with his family. Six months later, in July 2015, an unverified YouTube video appeared online.
I got shot inside the mosque on the day Ibrahim was arrested in August 2013. It shows him speaking on the phone and surrounded by a group of young men. It's a picture of mayhem. What can we do without any of this? That's getting us working together with the cameras around the mosque to kill us. Ibrahim talks about democratic freedoms in Ireland is a good thing. Isn't is not what we would like it to. We have this back in Ireland has no freedom.
And Ibrahim talked about Ireland being this country, about Egypt being its country. I came back to my country to come back here and stay here and stay with my family because this is my country.
I don't know what's happening back in Ireland and back here about the possibility of being shot dead inside the mosque at the last minute. We are willing to give away any any place because this is not an Islamic message. The elements that continue to divide public opinion on Ibrahim's case are elements that Peter Greste is only too well aware of.
You know, people joining the dots at home and say, here's a guy who traveled with intent to protest, who sees himself as an Egyptian national more than an Irish national. And why should the Irish government intervene on his behalf? Ibrahim Halawa has been denied due process. He has been denied an opportunity to defend himself in court. He's been held without trial for more than two years. There has never been any evidence presented to show that he was involved in anything other than a peaceful protest.
People can join the dots however they want. But the fact is that there is no evidence. The fact is that his rights as a detainee have been violated. Even under Egyptian law, they've been violated that the Egyptian authorities say he is accused of.
Well, first of all, we don't know if he's going to be tried on in August 2015, but recently visited Egypt.
The foreign minister, he was then chairman of the Joint Committee of Irish Foreign Affairs and Trade. He met with the Egyptian government before visiting Ibrahim and reported back to Merriwell from Drivetime Farm Country.
One did I understand retrocession Deputy PM. But a simple question, a simple question to the foreign minister. What is Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen charged with in your country?
Well, of course, that's a matter for the ministry, for the interior, not the foreign minister. Maybe there's questions I can ask. Tomorrow, will you ask or I will ask whatever questions are needed. And I think just because of my meetings are very open and, you know, very friendly today and I think quite control machinery is still the way forward here. You know, we have to we have to accept now that the trial will happen when I think if I like.
Well, as you know, this has been postponed for the air time. No, no trial will happen in the first week of October. Twila's hoping that. Well, we're hoping it will.
Obviously, as I said, the system there, you know, the saying justice, just justice delayed is justice denied. Well, this is Egypt's Mary. This is not at home and around. It's a very different environment and very challenging environment. Body. You, you. In this complicated and nuanced story, the only thing that remains certain is that Ibrahim Halawa has spent more than 1000 days in prison without trial. His case might not have received the same attention as Peter Greste is, and as Brian O'Connell reported last year, there might be an obvious reason why there's a sort of an elephant in the room here, Sean, when we talk about his case and somebody remarked to me yesterday, our taxi driver, actually, who picked me up from the house, and he said, I think if his name is Sean McDermott from Fernholz, there'd be a different reaction from the Irish government.
Now, that's an accusation the Irish government would strongly deny. But there is that feeling that somehow Ibrahim's case isn't being pushed away. It would have been pushed if it was somebody else born in the Koum, as we know, 19 year old Irish citizen who has there's been no proof of the charges levied against him. I met another sister of his last Monday.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, addressed Ibrahim's upcoming 14th Court appearance on June 29. The trial date is under twenty ninth of June. And I would expect that there will be developments in the hearing on that date. And my priority is, and we are deploying every effort by way of diplomatic engagement, contact with ministers and at the very highest level in Egypt. But I cannot determine when a case in an Egyptian court is to be concluded, although my expectations are that June the twenty ninth will be a key date in that regard.
Charlie Flanagan, thanks indeed for taking our call. On June 2nd, a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed that Irish embassy officials had made more than 50 visits to Ibrahim since his arrest in August 17, 2013. Ibrahim's story is not over, what happens on his trial date remains to be seen. What do you think the future holds for Ibrahim Halawa? It can't go on forever, but equally it's very difficult to see the point at which this might finally come to a close.
This story ultimately centers around the legal case and due process. Why, after more than three years, has Ibrahim not stood trial, allowing his case to move on? Identity remains at the very heart of this story. I think his relationship with Ireland was was complex. It was it was at times conflicted. Part of the conflict for Abraham, I think, came from a sense that he belonged to Ireland more than Ireland felt he belonged to them.
I think he really struggled with that. I think in a lot of ways he felt abandoned by particularly by the Irish government.
And he often spoke about the democratic values of of Ireland and the contrast between the way Ireland works as a democracy, the rule of law and so on, and the way that Egypt works. You know, I think he felt that that the teacher should have been doing more, should have been much more public in his in his conversations with the Egyptian authorities, with Egyptian president, with Sisi, who clearly felt that that the Irish authorities weren't weren't pulling their weight.
When was your last contact? On the day I walked out of prison camps, complete surprise, and I had only about half an hour to get my stuff together, to say goodbye to Abraham and the boys. But when I told them they were all overjoyed, they were all really, really happy, you know, high five and embracing me. All very happy to see to see me go to see me when my freedom. And and hopefully that would also show me some good news was wasn't far away for them.
On the day that I walked out, Abrahim, like everybody was, was just really happy that one of us was being given his freedom.