Egypt’s Emergency State Security Misdemeanor Court, Mansoura Division, has ordered the release of researcher Patrick George Zaki pending trial after spending nearly two years in jail, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said in a statement on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Zaki was finally released from his detention, with photos of his reunion with family and friends circulating on social media.
The Misdemeanour court decided to postpone his case, No. 1086 emergency state security misdemeanors, to the February 1st, 2022 session, in order to hear the pleadings, the statement added.
The 29-year-old Egyptian student and researcher at the University of Bologna in Italy was charged with “spreading false news about Egypt, both domestically and abroad,” stemming from a 2019 opinion piece he wrote on discrimination against Coptic Christians in Egypt.
باتريك خرج Patrick has been just released! pic.twitter.com/vp0GQ83UOv
— المبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية (@EIPR) December 8, 2021
In February, he was arrested at Cairo International Airport after arriving from Italy to spend a short holiday with family.
The arrest sparked outrage among prominent activists and social media users, with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi vowing to continue following Zaki’s case.
In August 2017, he became involved in the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights as a gender and human rights researcher, where he documented and created vocal campaigns on political violations and offered direct assistance to those whose rights have been violated.