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European Parliament president urges release of Egyptian student

Image: Daïna Le Lardic, European Parliament

University of Bologna student Patrick Zaky has been detained and allegedly tortured in Cairo

David Sassoli (pictured), the president of the European Parliament, has called on Egyptian authorities to immediately release Patrick Zaky, an Egyptian master’s student at the University of Bologna who has reportedly been tortured in custody after being detained in Cairo on 7 February.

“According to Amnesty International, [Zaky] was interrogated, beaten and tortured for 17 hours and is still being detained,” Sassoli said in a plenary session on 12 February.

“I want to remind the Egyptian authorities that EU relations with third countries rely on respect for human and civil rights. I therefore call for the immediate release of Patrick Zaky and for his safe return to his family and his studies.”

Amnesty International said on 10 February that Zaky—a gender studies student—had been arrested “on charges including ‘disseminating false news’ and ‘inciting to protest’”. The international human rights organisation said prosecutors had ordered a 15-day detention.

The BBC reported that Egypt’s Interior Ministry had confirmed that Zaky was being detained. According to the BBC, a hearing has been set for 22 February.

Sassoli said he had discussed the issue with EU high representative Josep Borrell, who “assured” him he would raise it with EU foreign affairs ministers.

The University of Bologna has also urged a swift resolution of the conflict and said it was working with Italian officials in Cairo.