Egypt: human rights defender Patrick Zaki released after 22 months of imprisonment

In Bologna, poster of support for Patrick Zaki.

AP - Gregorio Borgia

Text by: RFI Follow

1 min

After 22 months in detention in Egypt, Patrick Zaki, Egyptian researcher on the question of gender and student at the University of Bologna in Italy will be released on Tuesday, December 7.

The Coptic human rights activist's trial over an article denouncing discrimination against Christians in Egypt will resume on February 1, 2022.

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Patrick Zaki, a young Egyptian researcher of 27, was arrested in February 2020. The article at the heart of the case was published in 2019 on the Daraj news site.

He recounted the daily life of a Copt, a Christian minority in Egypt, like a diary. 

بعد 22 شهرا من السجن الاحتياطي, قررت محكمة جنح أمن الدولة إخلاء سبيل الباحث المصري باتريك جورج زكي مع تأجيل محاكمته إلى 1 شباط / فبراير 2022. pic.twitter.com/0VGTw2eXAm

- Daraj درج (@Daraj_media) December 7, 2021

Patrick Zaki, a student in Bologna, Italy, also worked for the

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

. In mid-September, the human rights NGO accused Cairo of undermining through this trial the freedom of expression " 

of all Egyptians

" and "

the right of Egyptian Christians to demand (...) l 'equality

'. 

In Italy, the fate of Patrick Zaki was closely followed.

A petition had collected thousands of signatures for his release.

In April the Senate also voted to grant him Italian nationality.

The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, also quickly expressed himself on Twitter on the announcement of his release, " 

first objective achieved: Patrick Zaki is no longer in prison

".

Primo obiettivo raggiunto: Patrick Zaki non è più in carcere.


Adesso continuiamo a lavorare silenziosamente, con costanza e impegno.


Un doveroso ringraziamento al nostro corpo diplomatico.

- Luigi Di Maio (@luigidimaio) December 7, 2021

Patrick Zaki risks another 5 years in prison for "false information".

The trial being held before an exceptional court, the emergency court of the State Security in Mansoura, Patrick Zaki will not be able to appeal.

Egypt has more than 60,000 prisoners of conscience, according to NGOs. 

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