Photo Credits: AP News
Egyptian President Fattah El-Sisi has pardoned Patrick Zaki, a student and human rights researcher, a day after he was sentenced to three years in prison by the Egyptian courts. Sisi’s decision to pardon Zaki followed international condemnation of the three-year sentence and pressure from Italy, the U.S., and international human rights groups. His arrest was part of a crackdown on peaceful protestors and human rights advocates, under Sisi, after the ousting of Mohammad Morsi, the democratically elected president.
Zaki was initially arrested in February of 2020 for “spreading false news” after authoring an article about the discrimination that Coptic Christians face as a minority in Egypt. He was a student at the University of Bologna in Italy at the time of his arrest and was held for almost two years before being released and placed on a travel ban. According to human rights groups, Zaki was tortured in detainment. He successfully graduated in 2023 by defending his thesis via videoconference. Zaki, since his pardon, has been allowed to travel and arrived in Milan on July 23, 2023.
While we at Endangered Scholars Worldwide applaud release of Patrick Zaki, we condemn the arbitrary imprisonment and placement of travel bans on scholars and students in Egypt. We call on the Egyptian government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international human rights law and treaties. ESW further calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to promoting and defending human rights to protest and condemn the continued abuse of scholars and researchers by the Egyptian authorities.
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