Return ‘feels like a dream’ for Ibrahim
2017-11-01 16:05:00 -
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By Chinedu Onyejelem

Ibrahim Halawa was treated to the warmest of welcomes at Dublin Airport on Tuesday 24 October when he returned to Ireland after four years in prison in Egypt.

 

Speaking after reuniting with his family, many of whom he was seeing for the first time since his arrest in August 2013 during anti-government protests in Cairo, a delighted Halawa thanked everyone who has worked for his freedom.

 

“It still feels like a dream,” he said, more than a month after he was acquitted of all charges. “This is the moment I’ve waited for four years. It’s a dream come true. It’s impossible that I’m really here. I didn’t think it would come through anytime soon.”

 

Halawa – who was accompanied by his sister Nosayba, who had been in Egypt since last month, and Ireland’s Ambassador to Egypt Sean O’Regan – was expected to spend his first few days back home at a private location with his family.

 

“I need to get some medical checkups,” he told RTÉ News. “I’m going to be taking some time off. My mum is sick, so I need to spend some time by her side. We need to get some family time as well.”

 

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said he and his colleagues in Government “are very pleased that Ibrahim’s ordeal is now at an end, and that he is back home with his family.

 

“There will be many challenges for Ibrahim as he comes to terms with all that he has been through and all the changes that have taken place while he has been detained in Egypt.

 

“He will need time and space in the period ahead and I hope that his privacy and that of his family will be respected.”

 

Minister Coveney said Halawa’s case was one of the “most complex, sensitive and difficult consular cases to which the Irish Government has ever responded.”

 

“There were some difficult and dark times,” he said, “but sight was never lost of our two key objectives – to get Ibrahim home, and to do everything possible to safeguard his rights and welfare for as long as he remained in the custody."

 

He added: “My thoughts today are with Ibrahim and his parents, siblings and extended family. They have waited a long time for this day; they deserve to savour and enjoy it.”

 

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