Rome makes Patrick Zaki an honorary citizen

Zaki was released from jail in Egypt one year ago.

Rome has conferred honorary citizenship on Patrick Zaki, the Egyptian human rights activist and researcher of gender studies, the Italian capital announced on Thursday.
The unanimous decision to award the honour to Zaki was welcomed by the 31-year-old who spoke to Rome council by video link from Egypt, saying: “It means a lot to me.”
In a tweet, Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri wrote: “Our community is at his side until he is free to return to study in Italy, as he wishes. Come on Patrick, Rome is waiting for you!”

Zaki was arrested in Cairo in February 2020, during a visit home from Italy where he was studying at Bologna University, on charges of allegedly spreading false news about Egypt.

He was jailed for 22 months and was released from prison last December. The eighth hearing in his trial took place just two days ago.

Zaki’s case, which drew international condemnation on the Egyptian government, relates to an article published in 2019 in which he described his experiences as a Coptic Egyptian and his views on current events affecting the religious minority.

Although free from prison, Zaki cannot leave Egypt. “I hope to be able to come to Rome soon and meet all of you in person” – Zaki told Rome city council on Thursday – “It would be a huge pleasure, we continue to hope”.