Egypt: Hunger strike 'deteriorating' Ibrahim Halawa's health



    Egypt: Hunger strike 'deteriorating' Ibrahim Halawa's health

    March 2, Cairo: The health of an Irish citizen who went on hunger strike at an Egyptian prison two months ago has sharply deteriorated, his family has warned, urging authorities for his release.

    Ibrahim Halawa, 21, was arrested three and a half years ago over his alleged role in violence during protests in Egypt's capital, Cairo - charges which he denies.

    He refused glucose for one week at Torah prison and as punishment has been put in solitary confinement, his sister Somaia Halawa told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

    His blood sugar level has dropped to 39 mg/dl, she said. An adult's normal blood sugar level ranges from 70 to 99 mg/dl.

    "It's very hard to think about this, but the reality is: How many more days can Ibrahim handle with his health in this state of deterioration?" Somaia said.

    Egypt denied that Halawa's health had deteriorated.

    In a statement sent to Al Jazeera, the Egyptian embassy in Dublin said: "At this most recent check up he has so far been found to be in good health with no diseases or life threatening condition ... It is untrue that Mr. Ibrahim Halawa is on hunger strike and we see no cause for him to fear for his life."

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    Halawa was detained in August 2013, when he was 17 years old, along with hundreds of others after taking refuge in a mosque from a bloody crackdown on demonstrators who had protested the removal of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Egyptian authorities have repeatedly delayed a mass trial of hundreds, including Halawa, often because one or more defendants were unable to attend. His next trial is due to take place in March 22.

    If convicted, Halawa could face the death penalty under Egyptian law.

    "Time is of the essence to save Ibrahim's life," Halawa's family said in a statement on Wednesday.

    "We ask our [Irish] government to urge the Egyptian government to release Ibrahim on humanitarian grounds."

    At the last weekly visit by an aunt on Tuesday, Halawa was in a wheelchair, the family said. "If something was to happen to Ibrahim physically or mentally" they would hold both the Irish and Egyptian governments responsible, the statement added.

    Halawa has gone on hunger strike protests several times throughout his detention and has lost at least 30kg, according to his family.

    His lawyers and human rights groups have claimed that Halawa has been beaten, tortured and electrocuted in jail.

    The Oslo Times International News Network