A file phot of Egyptian human rights researcher Patrick George Zaki. Photo: Wikipedia
In a statement issued shortly after Zaki's sentencing at the Mansoura Urgent State Security Court, the National Dialogue’s Board of Trustees urged President El-Sisi not to enforce the sentence.
Egyptian human rights researcher Zaki was sentenced on charges of spreading false news and inciting protests. There is no possibility to appeal in the state security courts, but the president has the power not to ratify the sentence or to grant him a presidential pardon.
The Board of Trustees expressed complete confidence in the president's commitment to the future of the convicted activist, particularly considering his recent achievement of a master's degree at a young age.
The Board of Trustees concluded the statement by emphasizing that the president's decision in this matter will demonstrate his unwavering dedication to fostering a positive environment for the success of the national dialogue. This will align with his call for a consensus on national priorities, the statement added.
Meanwhile, some members of the National Dialogue, such as journalist Khaled Dawood and human rights lawyer Ahmed Ragheb, announced that they are freezing their participation following the sentence.
Human rights lawyer and National Dialogue member Naged El-Bori not only announced that he was freezing his participation but also his retirement from public life in objection to the decision.
A postgraduate student at the University of Bologna in Italy, Zaki is a researcher at the prominent Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). Zaki was detained at Cairo International Airport after he arrived for a family visit in February 2020, his lawyers said at the time.
His arrest sparked condemnation in Italy, with calls for his release by rights organizations both at home and abroad. Both the European Union and European Parliament have also called for his release.