Egypt’s President Sisi pardons detained rights researcher Patrick Zaki

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday granted a pardon to rights researcher Patrick Zaki, just one day after he was sentenced to three years in prison. This comes as news of Zaki’s case gained significant attention, particularly in Italy where he was pursuing his studies.

Sisi’s decision came in response to the reactions from Italy’s prime minister, the U.S. State Department, and the head of Egypt’s national dialogue, a state-controlled initiative aimed at discussing the future of the country, all of whom expressed concerns regarding Zaki’s sentencing.

In addition to Patrick Zaki, Sisi’s pardon extended to Mohamed El-Baqer, a lawyer who had been representing detained activist Alaa Abdel Fattah. El-Baqer was arrested in 2019 while attending his client’s interrogation.

After allegedly spreading false news in an article regarding the situation of Egypt’s Christians, Patrick Zaki, a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), was sentenced on Tuesday by a state security court in his hometown of Mansoura.

Following his initial arrest during a visit to Egypt in February 2020, Patrick Zaki underwent 22 months of pre-trial detention before being released on bail, awaiting the conclusion of his trial.

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