Patrick Zaki

Patrick Zaki

We are waiting for Patrick, we will continue to support him and to ask for justice and freedom

Pubblicato: 28 settembre 2020

Our classes start today. And Patrick Zaki, our student of the GEMMA Master Degree and the Laurea Magistrale in Letterature Moderne, Comparate e Postcoloniali will not be with us. We join our Rector, Prof. Francesco Ubertini, in demanding Patrick back to Europe and to our University to finish his studies. We are waiting for Patrick, we will continue to support him and to ask for justice and freedom.


We report here the message of the UNIBO Rector, whom we wish to thank for all his support, as published in UNIBO magazine the 12th of September

The entire community of the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna stands united and resolute in asking that our student, Patrick George Zaki, be allowed to safely return to Europe to complete his studies within the Erasmus Mundus Master of Arts GEMMA in Women's and Gender Studies. As a community, we also hope that he will be allowed to get back to Bologna, the city that has made him an honorary citizen.

The University of Bologna, together with many Italian and European Universities, Associations and institutions, with the Municipality of Bologna and other cities, colleagues, artists and citizens, stands by its commitment started since last 7 February, date of Patrick's arrest in Cairo, demanding a fair trial and the safeguard of human rights and individual freedom.

Patrick, who is still awaiting trial, has been in detention for over two hundred days and has had to endure several hearing postponements as well as a renewal of his preventive custody. The date of his next hearing is still unknown.

On August 27, Patrick's mother was allowed to see him and talk to him after more than five months (his last meeting with his family had been in March). We know from local media that she found him overall well, but understandably extremely worried and tested.

We can only imagine how the lack of communication with loved ones makes whoever is experiencing freedom deprivation more vulnerable and frailer. Whenever he was allowed to express himself, Patrick showed apprehension about his studies. At first, he asked to study while in detention; now, as the new academic year is about to begin in European universities, he is asking to attend the second year of his study programme.

We firmly stand by his request, and by the request of all the universities of the GEMMA consortium and the entire teaching and student community, that Patrick is allowed to resume his studies that are at the centre of his professional development and to which he has committed so strongly.

The University of Bologna will continue to ask for justice, a prompt trial and Patrick's release. And we will continue our engagement now more than ever because of his health condition and the current global Covid-19 pandemic. If the pandemic has caused everyone to feel more vulnerable, the anguished uncertainty and precariousness experienced by Patrick and his loved ones urges us to an even stronger commitment and a more heartfelt solidarity.

We expect Patrick to be back, we ask him to be with us as soon as possible to attend our lessons that are based on a deep interaction between teachers and the younger generations, towards whom we have the task of indicating a path for the future.