Urgent Action Outcome: Student Released From Detention; Trial Ongoing
Patrick George Zaki, a researcher and master’s student, was provisionally released on 7 December 2021 after 22 months of arbitrary detention. He had been detained in Tora Investigation Prison in cruel and inhuman conditions since his arbitrary arrest at Cairo’s international airport in February 2020 upon his return from Italy, where he was studying. He remains on trial by an emergency court on bogus “false news” charges.
NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.
Patrick George Zaki, a gender researcher and master’s student, was provisionally released on 7 December 2021 after 22 months of arbitrary detention. He had been detained in Tora Investigation Prison since his arbitrary arrest at Cairo’s international airport in February 2020 upon his return from Italy, where he was studying.
In September 2021, he was referred to trial in front of an Emergency State Security Court (ESSC) on the charge of "spreading false news at home and abroad" in connection to an article published in 2019, containing exurbs from his personal diary about the discrimination faced by Coptic Christians in Egypt. On 1 February 2022, the court adjourned his trial to 6 April 2022 "to complete legal proceedings" without providing further details. Trials in front of ESSCs are inherently unfair, and their verdicts are not subject to appeal by higher courts.
His release follows sustained global interventions and public campaigning, particularly by Amnesty International Italy. Amnesty International will monitor his ongoing trial and continue, through other channels, to call for the case against him to be dropped and for an end to all trials by emergency courts.
Patrick George Zaki conveyed his gratitude to all his supporters: "I would like to thank everyone who supported me in every way during my imprisonment. Your support was the decisive factor in the battle of patience and hope for me. The more I knew the extent of the support that was happening abroad, the more I felt confident that my release was approaching. I would like to stress that in a passing message the detainee sometimes finds a real lifeline from the distress and cruelty of the experience. The messages of support have a magical impact, no matter how the sender thinks that it will not work, this is not true. Every message and every means of support, whether through a video, a post, or a picture, is what reminds the detainee of the importance of what he is going through and that his presence in this place [prison] makes a difference and changes the awareness of others about what is happening. Finally, do not stop supporting prisoners of conscience. We still have many who deserve ‘freedom.’”