The hearing session in which the second of the trial of Patrick Zaki is in progress just before 10:30 am local and Italian time. Journalists were admitted with a warning not to shoot videos or take photos. In the classroom, among the fifty or so people present, one could see George, Patrick’s father; his sister Marise and a director of the NGO ‘Eipr’ for which Patrick worked as a researcher. The defendant’s cage was empty.
The Egyptian student from the University of Bologna has been in prison in Egypt for almost 20 months.
Like the first hearing held on September 14, today’s one is again held before a State Security Court for minor (or emergency) crimes in Mansura, Patrick’s hometown.
In the new wing of the old Palace of Justice, several dozen cases are expected to be examined in a session lasting several hours from mid-morning. Last time, the update to today, after a few minutes’ hearing, was announced around 3 pm local and Italian time. Given the type of court, it is assumed that the accusation against him which will be debated today on the basis of three newspaper articles is that of “spreading false news inside and outside the country”. A crime punished with a maximum of five years in prison. The court can issue a final judgment at any hearing.
However, it has already been confirmed by a student lawyer that the accusations of “undermining national security” and of instigating protests, “the overthrow of the regime”, “to the use of violence and terrorist crime “: the crime hypotheses based on the ten posts on Facebook of controversial attribution.
According to Amnesty International, these are crimes that put him at risk of 25 years in prison, or even life imprisonment, according to Egyptian judicial sources. As always happened in the hearings for the renewal of pre-trial detention, it is also foreseeable today that an Italian diplomat will be present at the Court in the context of EU procedural monitoring involving non-European countries such as Canada.
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