DUBLIN (AP) — An Irish citizen recently acquitted after four years of being imprisoned in Egypt says he saw dozens of cellmates become radicalized and adopt views of the Islamic State group during his brutal captivity in overcrowded jails.
Ibrahim Halawa, 21, was arrested after security forces broke up a 2013 sit-in protesting the army’s overthrow of an elected Islamist president, and was released in October after being held in a half-dozen detention centers. His experience provides a unique perspective on how conditions inside Egypt’s notorious prisons have degenerated during an unprecedented crackdown on dissent.
Born in the Dublin suburb of Crumlin to parents of Egyptian descent, Halawa had faced death by hanging on charges that ranged from inciting violence to murder, and says regular beatings with bars and metal chains during captivity led him and others to the brink of despair.
“In the beginning, no one had even heard of Daesh, but …
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