One year after Patrick Zaki’s arrest, the Main Campus’s propylaea turn yellow
One year after the arrest of Patrick George Zaki, the University of Bologna student imprisoned in Egypt since February 2020, our Academic Senate has decided to strengthen the public campaign in his support by joining the initiative promoted by Amnesty International Italy on Monday, February 8. To support and spread the call for Patrick's release, the international human rights organisation has launched an appeal to authorities, administrations, and schools to symbolically illuminate public buildings, monuments or fountains in yellow on the evening of February 8, 2021. Sapienza lighted up the Main Campus's propylaea and the Rectorate Building's columns in yellow, joining in the solidarity action to keep up the media attention and pressure the Egyptian institutions to reconsider Patrick's detention status as soon as possible.
Initially detained in Mansoura, his family's city of origin, Patrick was moved to Cairo in March 2020. Due to the Covid emergency, he could not meet with family members or lawyers until September 2020, when he was finally able to receive a visit from his mother. His pre-trial detention has been repeatedly prolonged with further extensions, without any trial.
Throughout Zaki's year-long imprisonment, Sapienza took several initiatives. On February 12, 2020, a few days after his arrest, our University's Board of Governors endorsed the University of Bologna's motion expressing great concern. On December 10, 2020, World Human Rights Day, our Academic Senate approved a motion for Patrick, in which the community of Sapienza "joins in the feelings of shock and indignation widely shared at the national and international institutional level and hopes that the international community will induce the Egyptian authorities to review their positions in the light of the fundamental and universal principles of proportionality and respect for human life". On December 21, the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) sent a plea to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, pointing out that the young man's health conditions had deteriorated considerably and asked for clemency in allowing him to await his trial at home with his family. On January 25, 2021, the University promoted the marathon of voices "Justice for Giulio Regeni and Freedom for Patrick George Zaki" organised by Ca' Foscari University of Venice to mark five years since the kidnapping of Giulio Regeni and a few days before the first anniversary of Patrick Zaki's arrest.