Egyptian prosecutors have renewed the detention for another 15 days of researcher Patrick George Zaki, who was arrested earlier this month over charges including "broadcasting false news."
Zaki, a postgraduate student at Bologna University in Italy, is a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), a prominent rights organisation. Zaki was detained at Cairo International Airport on 7 February after he arrived for a family visit, his lawyers said at the time.
Zaki is accused of "broadcasting false news", "disturbing security and social peace," and using his Facebook account to "to promote the use of violence and terrorism," according to the prosecutor's office.
Zaki's arrest sparked condemnation in Italy, with calls for his release by rights organisations both at home and abroad, including a call for his immediate release made by European Parliament President David Sassoli.
Last week, Egypt’s top prosecutor denied allegations that Zaki was tortured during his detention, saying he "did not testify to being subjected to any harm or abuse" and that there were "no visible injuries" on him.
In September, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant and ordered the search of Zaki's home. His residence was searched by state security forces, who later presented to the prosecution printed documents of posts from his Facebook account inciting against state institutions and figures, the prosecutor's office had said.
An appeals court in his home city of Mansoura in the Nile Delta rejected an appeal filed by Zaki against his first detention order and upheld the prosecution’s decision.