In a joint statement, six Egyptian human rights organizations denounced the imprisonment of a human rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a masters student at the Italian “Bologna” University, Patrick George Zaki (27 years old) upon his return to Cairo on a short academic leave, on the pretext of a fabricated case in which the prosecution relied on National Security Investigations.
The organizations considered the detention of the researcher “as part of a wider, continuous and escalating campaign against researchers, academics and human rights defenders.
” The organizations demanded the immediate and unconditional release of him, and an investigation into the torture he was subjected to during his detention, and the Egyptian authorities bear responsibility for his health and psychological integrity until his release.
The organizations also called on the United Nations special rapporteurs, members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Italian Parliament, to urgently and immediately intervene by contacting the Egyptian authorities to release him.
Detention without justification
At dawn on Friday, February 7, security forces arrested Patrick George Zaki at Cairo International Airport, after arriving in Egypt on a short vacation before resuming his studies in Italy, and he was forcibly detained in violation of the law, and prevented from communicating with his lawyer and his family for more than 24 hours, during which he was interrogated at the airport, then transferred to a headquarters of the National Security in Cairo, and from there to the National Security headquarters in Mansoura as a residence for Patrick.
On Saturday morning, Patrick appeared before the Southern Mansoura Prosecution, who decided to imprison him for 15 days, pending an investigation into the record No.
7245 of 2019, the Mansoura administration, condoning his complaint of torture and ill-treatment after his arrest, after he was accused of spreading false news and data that disturbed the social ladder and broadcasted a case From chaos, incitement to demonstrate without the permission of the authorities intending to weaken and diminish the prestige of the state and disturb peace and public security, incitement to overthrow the system of government and promote the principles and ideas aimed at changing the basic principles of the constitution, and the management and use of an electronic account for the purpose of violating the system General and endangering the safety of the community at risk and harming national security, and finally to promote the commission of a terrorist crime and promoting the use of violence.
The persecution of researchers in Egypt
“With these accusations, Patrick joins a long list of researchers, academics and human rights defenders whose freedom is restricted by delusional accusations, the first of which was researcher and journalist Ismail Al-Iskandarani, who was also arrested at Cairo airport on November 29, 2015 and who continues to be imprisoned according to the ruling issued Against him from a military court with 10 years imprisonment in May 2018, and then the researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, who was held in custody pending the case 488 of 2019, state security countdown after a six-month enforced disappearance during which he was subjected to severe torture, and the researcher Hamad Abdul-Ghani Al-Mahbous, backed up a month ago, against the background of case 1898 of 2019, restricting state security, after the disappearance of two weeks, during which he was subjected to torture and electrocution, according to human rights reports, and the rights researcher in the Coptic case, Rami Kamel, who was held in detention on November 23, 2019 against the background of case No. 1475 of 2019 “.
The organizations continued: “All of this is part of a larger campaign targeting human rights defenders in particular and civil society organizations in general since the Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi coup in 2013.
This resulted in the prosecution of some of them, threatening some of them with death, and preventing more than 31 human rights activists from traveling, and assaulting Physical activity on some of them on the public road, which threatens their safety and life.
And outside, Which amounted to incitement to violence, which in turn obtained from Patrick himself a few hours after his disappearance, and extended to his organization, colleagues and defenders once he was arrested.