Egyptian Researcher Patrick Zaki Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison in Fake News Case


Egyptian Researcher Patrick Zaki Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison in Fake News Case

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The State of Emergency Security Misdemeanor Court in Mansoura sentenced Egyptian rights researcher Patrick George Zaki to three years in prison on charges of spreading false news, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).

“We condemn the judgment issued today against the researcher and academic Patrick George Zaki, who sentenced him to three years in prison for his writings that show the hardship and discrimination faced by Coptic Christians in Egypt,” says the EIPR statement.

Zaki was tried under emergency law, which does not allow appeals before any higher courts.

According to EIPR, Zaki was convicted of spreading false information in an article he wrote that the authorities considered an attempt to disrupt peace and social security in 2019. In February 2020, he was detained and spent 22 months in custody after being arrested at Cairo International Airport on his return from studying in Italy.

Before his detention, Zaki was a graduate student at the University of Bologna in Italy, where he completed a master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies. Zaki was also a researcher at EIPR.

“It is a terrible news that comes unexpectedly, because the image of Patrick receiving his degree with honors is still in our memory,” revealed Giovanni Molari, rector of the University of Bologna, to the Italian news wire ANSA.

The Mansoura State Security Misconduct Court II (Emergency) released the researcher on December 8, 2021 but a travel ban was imposed because the charges were not dropped.

Zaki’s imprisonment has sparked outrage in Italy and human rights activists in Egypt. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni assured the citizens that the government remains confident that they will find a positive solution to Zaki’s case.

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