Blair called on to help Irish teen facing death penalty

Blair is an informal financial advisor to Egypt's President
Blair is an informal financial advisor to Egypt’s President

By Shelley Marsden

Tony Blair has been asked to get involved in the case of an Irish teenager who has been imprisoned without trial in Egypt for a year and now faces the death penalty.

Ibrahim Halawa was arrested last August with his three sisters after getting entangled in a military siege of a mosque in Cairo during a protest over the killing of demonstrators some days previously.

The 18 year old from Firhouse, Dublin, appeared in court last week with 480 other prisoners in a mass trial, but proceedings were postponed.

His family – which includes his father Sheikh Hussein Halawa, Ireland’s most senior Muslim cleric – said yesterday that he has begun a hunger strike.

The charity Reprieve, which campaigns against the death penalty, has written to Mr Blair urging him to use his influence with the Egyptian government.

Blair is an informal economic adviser to Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. It is believed he has received the charity’s letter, but a spokeswoman has so far declined to comment.

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