Sapienza for Patrick Zaki
Sapienza University is committed to maintaining a high level of attention on the case of University of Bologna student Patrick George Zaki, who has been imprisoned in Egypt since February 7, 2020 and finally released, pending trial, on 8 December 2021. The court proceedings continue in Egypt with a hearing, postponed several times, scheduled for November 29, 2022.
When the release was announced on December 7, 2021, Rector Antonella Polimeni said: "After 22 months of detention and darkness, the Egyptian court has finally decided to release Patrick Zaki, although it has not yet acquitted him of the charges against him; the international community must remain vigilant over the process, but although we cannot drop our guard yet, today we have a good reason to smile".
Over the student's long period of imprisonment, Sapienza took several actions.
On February 12, 2020, a few days after the arrest, Sapienza's Board of Governors endorsed the University of Bologna's motion expressing great concern.
During World Human Rights Day on December 10, 2020, the Academic Senate of Sapienza University approved a motion for Patrick. In the motion, the community of Sapienza University of Rome, in all its components, 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, 2020 the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) sent a plea to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which emphasises - given the extension of pre-trial detention - 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.
On February 7, 2021, one year after Patrick's arrest, our Academic Senate decided to join the initiative promoted by Amnesty International Italy. 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 February 7 and 8, 2021. Sapienza lit up the Main Campus's buildings 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.