Ibrahim Halawa writes his graduation speech from Egyptian prison

His family want the Irish Government to ramp up pressure for his release

Ibrahim Halawa writes his graduation speech from Egyptian prison

A picture taken of Ibrahim Halawa at his previous prison entrance | Image: Halawa family

An Irish man who has been imprisoned in Egypt for more than three years has written what could have been his graduation speech and sent it to his family.

Ibrahim Halawa has been in jail since 2013 after being arrested taking pictures of a Muslim Brotherhood protest in Cairo.

He was 17 when he was detained.

On October 3rd, the now 20-year-old Dubliner faces his 15th rescheduled trial with 493 other people.

Halawa is considered by Amnesty International as a Prisoner of Conscience - detained solely for expressing his right to freedom of expression and assembly.

He has been imprisoned for over 1,130 days.

His family claim he was refused permission to see a specialist over chest pains he was feeling.

"Ibrahim only wanted to see a specialist and because of this guards went in the cell to shave Ibrahim's hair as a mean of mental torture, when Ibrahim refused he was beaten and forced to shave his hair off, Ibrahim was forced to experience the worst means of physical and mental torture", his family say.

"Yet with these suffering he continues to go through, he still remembers how this was supposed to be the year he would be celebrating his graduation in college.

"With limited sources Ibrahim was only able to talk and describe his dreams using pen and paper."

"I'm enrolled in a different college"

He writes: "Today has finally come, my graduation day, The day I have longed for.

"The day my parents invested their whole lives in to see me reach. It’s the day while every graduate gets their hair done, I forcibly get my head shaved, while my rough white clothes is my uniform, my fellow graduates are dressed in their best outfits.

"Today while every graduate throws their graduation hat in the sky to come down with the long waiting dream, I don't see the sky because I'm enrolled in a different college.

"A college I did not know I had applied for when I chose to fight for freedom, a college that kidnapped me from life to teach me the principles of really life, a college full of lessons.

"A lot of which I have learned in dark moments and nights where the first lesson is how I should have appreciated small leisure's in life that passed by unnoticeably.

"So simple as the sun burn that would reflect of my book to light my face up or the morning breeze that will find its way through its lungs. Striving with life’s toughest conditions was another lesson. Being forced to show with 30 human beings 24/7 dormitory where my sleeping area is 35cm.

"In this college I'm obliged to live with a broad diversity of inmates from presidential consultants and college professors to illiterate criminals which thought me to see the real human being behind every social rank.

"I have learned that absolutism is an invalid way to judge humans, humanity is all about relativism.

"It is a college where the hardest subject is finding the forgiveness, as I must say as a freedom fighter I never became a revenge hunter.

"Even though after all these years my oppressor is yet not convicted to let me graduate from his prison and go home, while for others it’s graduation night out, for me its graduation lights out."

Image: Halawa family

His family add: "Ibrahim’s letter leaves no room for more to be said, however it has been 35 days since the presidential decree of law 140 was submitted for Ibrahim.

"After three years of campaigning for Ibrahim freedom this is our biggest hope to return Ibrahim home soon, we greatly appreciate the efforts being made with this decree however there is a limited time to when this decree can remain effective.

"Witnessing the Dáil leaving all their political difference aside and become one hand has greatly effected this campaign and its continues support an pressure will definitely bring Ibrahim back home to fulfil his dream and finally graduate in college.

"It is time for the Irish government to increase the level of pressure so that decree is as effective as it should be, there was 600 people released last week from a presidential pardon yet Ibrahim was not one of them".

This is not the first time Mr Halawa has written to his family from jail.

Back in August, he sent them a letter marking the three-year anniversary of his detention.