Irish PM backtracks on claims of missing Irish citizen in Egyptian prisons
Ibrahim Halawa - Photo courtesy of Free Ebraheem Halawa official facebook page

CAIRO: Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan told the Irish Times Tuesday that Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa was not in fact missing, but has been transferred to another prison in Egypt.

Halawa was previously reported to be missing; family members told the media and advocacy groups that the embassy had told them when a consular offical tried to visit him the prison system was unable to locate him.

Halawa was arrested along with 493 others for committing violence in clashes following the dispersal of pro-Brotherhood sit-ins in August 2013 in downtown Cairo.

He faced a mass trial on March 29, 2013 and was adjourned to April 26, 2014. It is expected that if Halawa were found guilty, he would face the death penalty.

On March 29, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan assured, in a statement,  that Halawa’s welfare is a “primary concern” and that the Irish government will be in an active contact with the Egyptian government to “work in the best interests of the Irish citizen.”

Amnesty International expressed its “deep concern” for Halawa’s welfare and considered him an international prisoner of conscience, according to the BBC.

“The detention conditions he is being reportedly held in amount to psychological torture given he would be surrounded by prisoners sentenced to death and waiting to be executed,” Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland told BBC on March 2015.

He added saying Egypt’s prison environment is “harsh” and there are grave concerns about the treatment and conditions prisoners face.

Sameh Shoukry, the Minister of Egyptian Foreign Affairs, and his Irish counterpart Flanagan are in regular contact, regarding the case of Ibrahim Halawa, the Irish teenager arrested in Cairo in August 2013, and has been in jail since then, Irish Times reported.

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