Background info & timeline: Freedom for Patrick
Updated: Feb 16
This document is meant to keep full documentation of the background of Patrick’s case and any updates that can be used by any source on the account of “Patrick’s Friends”.
Patrick George Zaky, 28-year old Egyptian activist and researcher at Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna, has been at the heart of every human rights battle in Egypt. He has fought relentlessly for the protection and realization of the fundamental freedoms of the oppressed and marginalized. In 2008, Patrick began his studies in Pharmacy at the German University in Cairo, where throughout his years of study, he was very vocal regarding student rights. He was an active member of the Student Union and was one of the key proactive participants of the university-wide protests in response to the administration’s unjustifiable expulsion of politically active students.
His commitment to justice and equality drove him to switch his career to human rights upon graduating in June 2014, where he quickly became an activist and defender in the Egyptian human rights movement. Even with the arrival of Al-Sisi’s brutal regime that silenced countless voices, Patrick’s was not one of them. With unwavering determination and persistence, Patrick has been bravely fighting for the people’s political freedom of expression in a nation ruled by a military dictatorship, ruthless in suppressing any opposition.
Patrick has not missed a chance to defend the abandoned rights of the oppressed in Egypt, especially women and minorities like Christians and the LGBTQ+ community. He has vocally fought for the individual human rights violations of the many who were wrongly accused, abused, and detained.
In August 2017, he became involved in the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights at a full-time capacity as a gender and human rights researcher. His day-to-day work revolved around documenting and creating vocal campaigns on political violations, putting pressure on the perpetrators, and offering direct assistance and support to those whose rights have been violated. He was a constant advocate for hundreds of detainees, acting as an undeniable voice to the voiceless.
Since the disappearance of Giulio Regeni and all throughout the events that led up to his tragic loss, Patrick was unhesitantly fighting for Regini’s justice. In August 2019, he ceased to work for human rights in an official capacity and moved to Bologna, Italy to pursue higher education in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Bologna.
Please follow the #FreePatrick page to support the demands and stay updated with the case.
Patrick traveled back to Egypt to spend his semester vacation with his friends and family back home. The events that took place starting from his abduction on the 7th of February up till now are as follows: (Organised in reverse chronological order)
More updates to follow.
Saturday 15/2/2020 - 12:15 - Patrick’s support campaign publish a statement in response to the appeal rejection,refusing the nationalist tone of speech used by Egyptian authorities to discredit Patrick’s solidarity campaigns and denounce his reputation, and reassuring pursuit until the release of Patrick and the dropping of all charges against him.
Saturday 15/2/2020 - 12:15 - Patrick's lawyers defense plea is rejected and he will continue detention on remand for 15 days pending investigation.
Saturday 15/2/2020 - 11:00 - Patrick, together with his lawyers and representatives from the European Union and Italian Embassy, are at the court hearing in Mansoura. Patrick’s lawyers are invited to the judge’s discussion room at the courthouse where they present their defense plea, in the presence of diplomats.
Friday 14/2/2020 - 10:30 - Head of the House of Representatives in Egypt, Ali Abdel Aal, issues a statement strongly rejecting the statements made by European Parliament, claiming that they relied on false information. Abdel Aal did not comment on Patrick’s mistreatment by the Egyptian authorities.
Thursday 13/2/2020 - 19:00 - Mansoura Prosecution announces Saturday 15th as the date for the hearing into the leave to appeal Patrick’s detention. Meanwhile, Patrick, who has been detained In Mansoura II police station, is moved to Talkha police station - one with less favorable conditions.
Wednesday 12/2/2020 - The GEMMA Consortium at University of Granada-Spain published their statement demanding “to immediately and unconditionally release Patrick George Zaki, dropping all charges against him, to guarantee his physical and psychological wellbeing, and to allow him to contact his lawyers and family while in custody.”. They also called for “measures to be taken to put an end to threats and attacks against students, researchers, scholars, journalists and human rights defenders.”
Wednesday 12/2/2020 - 16:40 - Regini’s family publishes a statement, asking “the Italian and European institutions to immediately put all those concrete actions that have never been exercised to save giulio's life or to demand truth about his murder.”
Wednesday 12/2/2020 - 19:50 - Th Italian democratic party publishes a statement, asking the government for maximum commitment to release Patrick.
Wednesday 12/2/2020 - 20:00 - A sit-in protesting for Patrick’s release takes place in Piazza del Nettuno, Bologna.
Wednesday 12/2/2020 - 18:00 - Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna announces a statement urging the Italian Government and of the European Union to continue monitoring Patrick’s case and do their utmost until he returns to Bologna.
Wednesday 12/2/2020 - 15:26 - President of the European Parliament calls for the immediate release of Patrick: “I call for the immediate release of Egyptian student Patrick Zaky and for his safe return to his family and his studies. I talked today with High Representative Joseph Borrel who assured me that he will raise the matter at the next Foreign Affairs Council”.
Tuesday 11/2/2020 - 18:00 - A statement from Patrick’s family is issued, where they express their fear over Patrick’s safety and wellbeing and declare their support of “the demands of Patrick’s friends and colleagues inside and outside Egypt that emphasize on the immediate and unconditional release of Patrick and the dropping of all charges as well as guaranteeing that there will be no further prosecution of Patrick or his family members and allowing him to continue his studies.”
Tuesday 11/2/2020 - 17:15 - Bologna city council approves an agenda urging the government and parliament to take action in the case of Patrick George Zaki
Tuesday 11/2/2020 - Protest in Granada, Spain, demanding Patrick’s release.
Monday 10/2/2020 - 18:20 - Another protest takes place in Italy, in solidarity with Patrick.
Sunday 9/2/2020 - 20:00 - Flash mob takes place in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy, demanding the immediate release of Patrick.
Sunday 9/2/2020 - 13:37 - The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior issues a brief statement on its official Facebook page, regarding Patrick’s arrest of Patrick George Zaki. The statement only addresses denying that Patrick holds the Italian citizenship, which it allegedly claims is communicated by social media pages, which were not specified in the issued statement.
Sunday 9/2/2020 - Patrick’s friends issue three demands:
Immediate release of Patrick Zaki with all accusations dropped;
Enforcing a clear, transparent investigation regarding his abduction and torture conditions;
Assuring no further prosecution or harassment of Zaki nor his family members, allowing for progression with his studies.
Saturday 8/2/2020 - 18:00 - Prosecutor decides to keep Patrick in pre-trial detention for 15 days. This is a standard procedure taken in the prosecution of political activists in Egypt in order to extend investigations for as long as possible.
Saturday 8/2/2020 - 17:44 - Investigation ends and Patrick is moved to the police station in Mansoura to anticipate the prosecutor’s decision.
Saturday 8/2/2020 - 17:25 - The list of the following charges against Patrick are announced:
Publishing rumors and false news that aim to disturb social peace and sow chaos;
Incitement to protest without permission from the relevant authorities with the aim of undermining state authority;
Calling for the overthrow of the state;
Managing a social media account that aims to undermine the social order and public safety;
Incitement to commit violence and terrorist crimes.
Saturday 8/2/2020 - 16:45 - Investigation starts.
Saturday 8/2/2020 - 13:00 - Political activists in Egypt start a petition to pressure the Egyptian government to release Patrick.
Saturday 8/2/2020 - 12:20 - Patrick is moved to a General Public Prosecutor Office to start the investigations about the claimed charges from 2019.
Saturday 8/2/2020 - 11:00 - Patrick appears at a partial Public Prosecutor Office in his hometown of Mansoura. His lawyer is present. The police issued an arrest report falsely claiming he was arrested from his parent's house on Saturday, redacting more than 20 hours of his arrest. Additionally, the report claims that his arrest is based on an outstanding arrest warrant for charges in 2019.
Friday 7/2/2020 4:00 - Patrick is detained upon arrival at the Cairo International Airport, where he is questioned illegally in the airport’s State Security Office for 20 hours and is beaten, tortured, electrocuted and deprived of his legal rights, such as the right to a defense attorney. Official sources and his family have no knowledge of his whereabouts.