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Trial of human rights activist Patrick George Zaki to resume


Trial of human rights activist Patrick George Zaki to resume

Photo: Massimo Paolone/Lapresse via AP

The trial of Egyptian human rights advocate Patrick George Zaki will resume today in the city of Mansoura. 

Detained in February 2020, Zaki was held for 19 months prior to the commencement of his trial, during which he allegedly suffered torture and abuse. Earlier this month, Zaki was charged with disseminating fake news and harming state institutions through publication of an article he had written discussing the oppression of as Coptic Christians in Egypt. 

Expect the Egyptian courts to convict Zaki, who faces a maximum sentence of five years. Cairo has recently been using similar justifications as grounds for detaining dissident voices, despite President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi launching the National Strategy for Human Rights 2021-2026 on September 11. Egypt remains plagued by accounts of human rights violations—especially of ethnic and religious minorities—which are likely to continue without adequate international pressure. 

Last December, the European Parliament passed a resolution to urge the imposition of targeted restrictions to Egyptian state assets, but are unlikely to have any effect on reducing state suppression. As for the United States, Congress has decided to block $130 million in military aid in response to the increasing violations, although this only amounts to 10% of the $1.3 billion that Cairo receives annually from Washington. 

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