Giustizia per Patrick George Zaki

La Rete GIFTS ha firmato l’appello A Call for Justice for Patrick George Zaki lanciato dalle dottorande e dai dottorandi dell’Università di Verona.

Letter for Support

We, undersigned Ph.D. students of the University of Verona, invite you to join our call for solidarity with and justice for Patrick George Zaki, a Master student of the University of Bologna.

As Amnesty International Italia reports, Patrick George Zaki, a 28 years old Egyptian human rights activist and researcher, was arrested on February 7, 2020, at Cairo International Airport upon his arrival from Bologna, where he is enrolled in the “GEMMA” Master at the University of Bologna (Erasmus Mundus Master of Arts “GEMMA” in Women’s and Gender Studies). Patrick had left Bologna to spend a holiday in his hometown of Mansoura, Egypt.

His lawyers have told Amnesty International that the agents of National Security Agency (NSA) kept Patrick blindfolded and handcuffed during his interrogation at the airport, which lasted 17 hours. Patrick has been tortured with electric shocks, beaten and blindfolded during interrogations about his activism, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. The group previously employed Zaki as a gender rights researcher and is now providing him legal representation.

According to Amnesty International, the agents of the NSA have interrogated him about his work in the field of human rights during his stay in Egypt, and on the purpose of his residence in Italy.

The day after his arrest, Mansoura prosecutors ordered his detention for 15 days pending investigations into allegations including “spreading fake news”, “inciting protest” and “instigating violence and crime “. Prosecutors refer to ten posts on Zaki’s  Facebook profile. On Saturday February 15, the judges confirmed pre-trial detention. On February 22, a court confirmed his detention for a further 15 days. Amnesty international Italia calls Zaki a prisoner of conscience detained solely for his work in favor of human rights and for the political views expressed on social media.

We seek to pressure the Egyptian Authorities to meet the following demands:

  • Immediate release of Patrick Zaki;
  • Enforcing a clear, transparent investigation regarding his arrest and torture conditions;
  • Assuring no further harassment or prosecution of Patrick nor his family members, allowing for progression with his studies.

You can sign the petition of Amnesty International here.

This letter is written in solidarity with the motion of the University of Bologna for Zaki’s release, and is one of numerous calls for justice for Patrick Zaki George, both initiated by the human rights organizations and other Universities from abroad. We need as much international support for Zaki as we can get. Please sign this letter and share the call for solidarity with Zaki on your social media using the hashtags: #FreePatrick #PatrickLibero #JusticeForPatrickZaki For the latest news on Zaki’s case you can follow Facebook page of Amnesty International – Italia and page Patrick Libero – الحرية لباتريك چورچ. Zaki’s arrest and torture bring us painful memories of the 2016 abduction and torture in Egypt of 28 years old Italian researcher and the University of Cambridge graduate, Giulio Regeni. Giulio was researching Egypt’s independent trade unions. His body was found near a highway in Cairo, with marks of extreme torture from which he died.

Zaki spoke out about the reprisals against Egyptian activists and civil society in 2018, telling the Italian news agency Dire: “We fight for our activists, but also for Giulio Regeni … institutions try to prevent people from talking about it. Protests are not allowed. We NGOs face threats.’’

We require justice for your fellow colleague Patrick Zaki George.


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