Speaking in the Seanad this evening Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield called on Minister Charlie Flanagan to request a Presidential Decree for the release of Ibrahim Halawa from an Egyptian prison.

Senator Warfield said;

“Ibrahim Halawa is only 20 years old, just a little bit younger than myself.  He should be studying in college and living his life surrounded by his friends and family.

“Yet he has spent the last 1,048 days incarcerated in a filthy and over populated Egyptian jail.

“He has detailed the ill-treatment and torture that he has faced, as well as what other prisoners have been subjected to. Yet he has still been unable to see an independent doctor from outside the prison.

“I think it’s disgraceful that your department have not been able to facilitate and ensure this.

“He was 17 when he was arrested, a child, but is being treated as an adult.  He was not charged for a year after his arrest and is now part of sham mass trail and he has no hope of ever receiving a fair trial. His trial has now been postponed an incredible 14 times.

“You have told the Dáil and the Foreign Affairs Committee that the Presidential Decree, Law 140, can only be applied after a person is sentenced. That is completely untrue.

“It took Sinn Féin to bring over Peter Greste and his legal team to explain to TDs, Senators, and the media that that is not the case.  Peter Greste, an Australian citizen, is at home now because the Australian Government fought tooth and nail for his release, and applied for this decree BEFORE he was sentenced.

“Peter was on RTÉ Radio yesterday explaining just that, in fact he was sentenced in absentia and cannot returned to Egypt.

“Minister when are you going to change your strategy and apply for the Presidential decree?

“I’m not saying that you or your Department have done nothing for Ibrahim, I know the amount of consular visits he has received, but your strategy is failing Ibrahim. Its not just Sinn Féin saying that, even your Ministerial colleague, Minister Zapppone, said so today.

“In yesterday’s report from the trial the Judge released two defendants without reason.  Is your Department investigating this? And why Ibrahim wasn’t released?

“However the most worrying part, which hasn’t been really picked up by the media, is that three defendants have died since the last court hearing.

“Minister, please act now. Act before it’s too late and apply for this Presidential Decree.”