Researcher Patrick George Zaki had the second session of his trial on September 28, 19 months after he was arrested for writing about his experiences as a Coptic Christian.
The judge ordered the trial adjourned until December 7 to allow the defense to review case files, thus keeping Zaki behind bars unjustly for at least another two months. As he was being driven back to Tora Prison, Zaki called out to friends and supporters, “Don’t worry about me. I’ll get out, I’ll get out.”
Zaki was arrested in February 2020 upon his arrival at the airport in Cairo, where he was intending to spend a short vacation with friends and family while pursuing his master’s degree in gender and human rights studies in Italy. He was threatened and tortured by authorities, who have kept him detained under bogus terrorism charges and periodically renewed his detention.
The FreePatrick campaign, pointing out that Zaki will soon have spent two years in prison despite not being convicted of any crime, declared, “It has become clear to us that the intent of the Egyptian authorities is for Patrick to spend the longest possible time imprisoned without any legal basis.”
Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard posted a message of solidarity with Zaki, saying, “He should not have spent a single day behind bars. It is high time for President [Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi to ensure that Patrick Zaki is immediately and unconditionally released.”