Statement by the GEMMA Consortium on Patrick George Zaki’s situation

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 12:41
A drawing of Patrick George Zaki

The Erasmus Mundus Master's Degree in Women's and Gender Studies (GEMMA) is coordinated by the University of Granada, funded by the EU's Erasmus Mundus programme, and involves the participation of the University of Bologna, the Central European University, the University of Łódź, the University of Oviedo, Utrecht University, and the University of York. As members of this consortium we express deep concern for the safety of one of our students, Patrick George Zaki, who was arrested on 7 February 2020 upon his arrival to Egypt, where he was visiting family.

Patrick George Zaki is a 27-year-old Egyptian human rights researcher and a postgraduate student of the GEMMA Master’s Degree at the University of Bologna. Upon his arrival to Cairo International Airport he was arrested by Egypt’s National Security Agency (NSA). After many hours of interrogation regarding his human rights work and activism, he was then taken to the NSA facilities in his hometown of Mansoura, where he remains in custody. Since then we have not received any news concerning his situation or wellbeing. According to NGOs and lawyers with experience in similar cases, Patrick is at serious risk of being tortured.

We urge the Egyptian government to immediately and unconditionally release Patrick George Zaki, dropping all charges against him, to guarantee his physical and psychological wellbeing, and to allow him to contact his lawyers and family while in custody. We also call for measures to be taken to put an end to threats and attacks against students, researchers, scholars, journalists and human rights defenders.

A rally in support of GEMMA Master’s student Patrick George Zaki, detained in Egypt for his feminist and LGBTQI+ activism, was held on Tuesday 11 February at 11 a.m. at the Centre for Scientific Documentation (CDC), the headquarters of the Women's and Gender Studies Institute. Over 150 people participated in the rally and speeches were delivered by UGR representatives, including Pedro Mercado Pacheco, Vice-Rector for Institutional Policy and Planning, and Adelina Sánchez Espinosa, Director of the Erasmus Mundus Master's Degree in Women's and Gender Studies (GEMMA).

University of Granada, Spain (Coordinator of the GEMMA Consortium)

University of Bologna, Italy

Central European University, Hungary and Austria

University of Łódź, Poland

University of Oviedo, Spain

Utrecht University, the Netherlands

University of York, United Kingdom


Images of the rally held on 11 February in Granada:

A large rally
A rally in support of Patrick George Zaki involving over 150 people took place on Tuesday 11 February at the University of Granada