Amnesty International : ‘Out of Egypt’
30 October 2018
The School of Law was pleased to host the event “Out of Egypt” in the Moot Court on 30 October 2018 where Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish citizen, explained his experience of being arbitrarily arrested and detained for four years on Egypt. Supported by Amnesty International, the discussion was chaired by the freelance journalist Amanda Ferguson , who put questions to both Ibrahim Halawa and his Belfast-based lawyer Darragh Mackin.
Ibrahim Halawa explained how he was arrested in August 2013, along with his sisters, during a family vacation in Egypt (their parents are originally from the country). While massive protests against the government were taking place in Cairo, Ibrahim and his three sisters took refuge in a mosque where security forces arrested them. Ibrahim was only 17 years old. Although his sisters were released few months after their arrest, Ibrahim was kept in prison until 20 October 2017. He explained the hardship of being detained without charges, severely mistreated in prison and denied the basic right to a fair trial. Ibrahim explained that his sense of humour helped him to cope with the dreadful conditions he was kept in.
His solicitor, Darragh Mackin, also stressed how the conditions that Ibrahim was kept in violated his fundamental human rights. As a minor, Ibrahim was also facing a death sentence for crimes he did not commit. He could not properly defend himself in a mass trial along with 500 other defendants who could not present individually their legal arguments during expeditious court proceedings. Mr Mackin pointed out that creating an international campaign, with the support of Amnesty International, was the only way to draw attention to Ibrahim’s case and put pressure the Egyptian government to ensure his acquittal.
At the ‘Out of Egypt’ event, both speakers advocated continuing the campaign to secure the release of all political prisoners held without due process in Egyptian cells.
The live of the event is available on Queen’s School of Law Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/qublaw/videos/1175958722559729/