The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) last week joined with Amnesty International Ireland in the campaign to free Ibrahim Halawa, the Irish man who has been detained in an Egyptian prison for more than two years without trial.
As part of International Human Rights Day on December 10, USI called for its members to take part in a gathering on O’Connell, organised by Amnesty, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Halawa.
On December 11, two days before Halawa’s 20th birthday, USI also ran a #FreeIbrahim campaign on campuses across Ireland. Students were asked to take photographs of themselves with a ‘Happy Birthday Ibrahim’ postcard, share the image on social media, sign the postcard and send it to the Irish Embassy to call for Halawa’s release.
In a press release from USI, Daniel Waugh, Vice President for Campaigns, commented: “Ibrahim should have started university this year, furthering his dreams of becoming a pilot or an engineer. His plans have all been put on hold, and instead of college life, he finds himself sitting in a jail cell in Egypt for over two years. USI stands in solidarity with Ibrahim and are calling on the Irish embassy to help bring him home.”
Trinity’s DU Amnesty International also showed its support for the campaign, arranging for students to meet outside House 6 to attend the Amnesty protest on December 10. A delegation of students from DU Amnesty also took part in a protest outside Leinster House organised by Halawa’s family in October.
Waugh stated that Halawa is an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, imprisoned since 2013, “solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly” in Egypt. Halawa, who was 17 when first detained, never received a fair trial. His family have continuously campaigned for his release.