Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.
The President of the European Parliament has received a large number of messages calling on the Parliament to put pressure on the Egyptian government for the immediate release of Patrick Zaki, an Egyptian human rights advocate and researcher who was studying for a master’s degree on gender and human rights in Bologna and was arrested upon his arrival at Cairo airport on 7 February 2020. Egyptian authorities detained him on charges including ‘disseminating false news’, ‘inciting to protest’ and ‘incitement to violence and terrorist crimes’. Citizens first began to write to President Sassoli on this subject in February 2020 and have recently written to President Metsola in January 2022. The European Parliament has called for Patrick Zaki’s immediate and unconditional release and for all charges against him to be dropped. Representatives from the European Union and EU countries are following his case closely.
Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter (in English).
Main points made in the reply in English
We would like to inform you that the European Parliament adopted a resolution on human rights in Egypt by 434 votes to 49 with 202 abstentions (results of votes, item 34, RC‑B9‑0426/2020) on 18 December 2020.
The resolution refers to the case of Patrick Zaki, as well as the case of Giulio Regeni and activists who have been arbitrarily detained.
In paragraph 3 of the resolution, Parliament calls for Patrick Zaki’s immediate and unconditional release and for all charges against him to be dropped, and for strong, swift and coordinated EU diplomatic reaction to his arrest and prolonged detention.
In paragraph 18 of the resolution, Parliament ‘calls on the Member States to halt all exports of arms, surveillance technology and other security equipment to Egypt that can facilitate attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists, including on social media, as well as any other kind of internal repression; calls for the EU to implement in full its export controls vis-à-vis Egypt with regard to goods that could be used for repression, torture or capital punishment’.
As a determined human rights defender, champion of free speech, and a strong supporter of civil society, the President urges the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against Patrick Zaki.
The President calls on the authorities to proceed as swiftly as possible and to ensure that Patrick Zaki has access to legal counsel and medical treatment. All charges against him should be dropped so that he can return to Bologna and complete his studies.