Egyptian Court Extends Arbitrary Detention of University of Bologna Student Patrick George Zaki Agai
On June 9, 2020, Endangered Scholars Worldwide learned that an Egyptian Court renewed the detention of the University of Bologna researcher and student Patrick George Zaki for another 15 days for the sixth time. Zaki has been in the custody since February 7, 2020 and has been allegedly tortured and mistreated by Egyptian authorities.
Zaki’s arrest has alarmed many in Italy where the researcher was pursuing a Master’s degree in gender and women’s studies at the University of Bologna. There are fears that this may be a repeat of the case of the murdered Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni, whose body was found with extensive signs of torture on a roadside on the outskirts of Cairo in 2016.
Zaki is accused of calling for protests against the government and for the “spread of fake news.”
His lawyers requested his release on the grounds of procedural irregularities, lack of evidence, and because he has a verified address and would be unable to tamper with case evidence, if there was any. As we previously reported, Zaki’s lawyers have said he was beaten, subjected to electric shocks, threatened, and questioned about his work and activism before he appeared at a public prosecutor’s office in his hometown of Mansoura on Saturday, a day after his detention in the Egyptian capital.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide considers the detention of Patrick George Zaki a flagrant and unjust violation of the freedom, security, and safety of scholars and students in Egypt, and we deplore and condemn his ongoing detention and persecution. We call upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest and condemn this arbitrary incarceration; to call for his immediate and unconditional release; and to urge the officials of the Egyptian government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights.