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Freedom for Patrick George and All Prisoners of Conscience. Withdraw from the National Dialogue Now and Immediately

Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists

Today, the Emergency State Security Court in Mansoura sentenced researcher Patrick Zaki to three years in prison without the possibility of appeal or cassation. In preparation for his transfer to prison, Patrick has been transferred to Gamasa Police Station.

Patrick spent two years in pretrial detention after being arrested in February 2020 at Cairo Airport upon his return from Italy, where he was pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Bologna. He was released in December 2021, pending the case. Earlier this month, Patrick received an honors distinction for his master’s thesis but could not defend it due to being on the travel ban list.
The prosecution referred Patrick to trial over an article he published titled “Displacement, Killing, and Harassment: A Week’s Summary in the Daily Lives of Egypt’s Copts” in July 2019, accusing him of spreading false news.

The ruling against Zaki continues the current regime’s policy of targeting and arresting peaceful dissenters, a practice that has never ceased. Today’s verdict exposes the national dialogue as a charade, especially since the authorities have failed to meet the Civil Movement’s preconditions for dialogue, which included [mention specific conditions]. Patrick George was not the first detainee since the dialogue began; the regime also arrested relatives and supporters of presidential candidate Ahmed Tantawi during the dialogue’s launch, along with other dissenters. A regime that imprisons an article writer and prevents a researcher from traveling is not fit for dialogue, as its prisons remain filled with those who dare to dissent.

We commend the decision of those who have announced their withdrawal from the national dialogue and call on all political forces, movements, and organizations to withdraw from the committees and subcommittees of the national dialogue. Instead, they should listen to and engage with the citizens on their issues, which will find no place in these committees.

We emphasize that what Patrick wrote and is now being prosecuted for is not a private matter. The displacement, killing, and harassment he described are daily realities that affect everyone in Egypt. We call for the immediate release of Patrick and all detainees in Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s prisons.