The first hearing in the trial of Patrick Zaki, the Egyptian student of the University of Bologna in prison since February last year, opens this morning at a court in Mansura, Egypt. The long-awaited indictment, as announced by some NGOs, refers to the accusation of “spreading false news inside and outside the country” on the basis of an article written by Patrick in 2019 on Coptic Christians in Egypt, according to him. say persecuted although the circumstance is completely controversial.
The 30-year-old researcher and activist faces a fine or a sentence of up to five years in prison, predicts Amnesty International. As this is a State Security Court for minor offenses, the sentence will be final. As happened in all hearings for the renewal of pre-trial detention, the presence in Mansura of an Italian diplomatic representative in the context of EU procedural monitoring is given for certain.
The Court is the second in the city on the Nile delta where Patrick was born and raised and where he was jailed for almost a month last year at the beginning of his pre-trial detention. At the moment it is not clear how many hearings could be. At least from the information released yesterday by ten NGOs and Amnesty, it seems that the most serious accusations, those of instigating the overthrow of the state and terrorism which were based on ten posts from a Facebook account, have fallen.
In the event of a sentence of less than 19 months, given the long period of preventive detention, release would be immediate but the hopes of a favorable sentence or at least of a not heavy sentence are rather low. “Any Egyptian who has published news, communications or indiscretions on the internal situation in a way that would harm the state and national interests will be sentenced to prison between 6 months and 5 years and a fine of between 100 to 500 Egyptian pounds under the article 80 of the law ”, judicial sources had reminded ANSA last June referring to the case of Patrick. Due to the very high inflation in Egypt especially in past years, now 100-500 Egyptian pounds are worth between 5 and 27 euros.