Patrick Zaki, another 45 days in preventive prison –

The custody of the Egyptian student has been renewed for more than 500 days in the maximum security prison of Tora. Amnesty: Rome summons the Egyptian ambassador

Another 45 days of pre-trial detention. The cruel imprisonment in Tora prison continues for Patrick Zaki, the Egyptian student of the Alma Mater University of Bologna arrested in February last year for subversive propaganda on the internet. This was confirmed by Lobna Darwish, a representative of the NGO Eipr (the Egyptian initiative for personal rights) announcing the outcome of a hearing that took place yesterday.

Therefore, the appeals from the Italian civil society, from the academic world – in the lead the University of Bologna of which Patrick is a student – and the initiative of the Italian Parliament that in recent days approved a motion of the Chamber that commits the government to take action for the granting of citizenship to the student. The same motion was already adopted in the Senate. In Montecitorio, the pro-Zaki motion – who in the meantime has turned 30 in prison – was approved unanimously, with the sole abstention of the Brothers of Italy. A document in which the government is requested to promptly initiate the necessary checks through the competent institutions in order to confer Italian citizenship on Patrick George Zaki. And to continue to monitor, with the presence in the courtroom of the Italian diplomatic representation in Cairo, the conduct of the trial hearings against Zaki and his conditions of detention, which Amnesty has defined inhumane. But so far the Italian government has not followed up on the initiative.

I wonder if even after the second vote of the parliament in favor of Patrick Zaki the Italian government will continue to invite caution and silence, or take some initiative. For example, summoning the Egyptian ambassador to Italy to express his discontent, commented Riccardo Noury, spokesman for Amnesty International Italy. It took 48 hours to know an outcome that unfortunately many took for granted, a once again cruel sentence, which would increase detention without trial and without the possibility of defending oneself to over a year and a half.

Furthermore, the persecution by the Al Sisi regime against activists and humanitarian workers continues. Hossam Bahgat (here his interview with Corriere), the executive director of the Egyptian initiative for personal rights (Eipr, the NGO for which Patrick Zaki worked), was indicted accused of spreading false rumors about electoral fraud and of having insulted the National Electoral Authority with a tweet in 2020. The news was reported by the Egyptian opposition media Mada Masr referring to last year’s parliamentary consultations. In the context of this case, Bahgat had been arrested, interrogated and released on June 16, recalls Mada Masr with reference to the journalist-activist who founded the NGO, one of the largest in Egypt, engaged in the defense of political, civil, economic and social, with particular attention to personal freedoms. Bahgat had had problems with the Egyptian judiciary as early as 2015-16.

July 14, 2021 (change July 14, 2021 | 4:00 pm)


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