Geneva: July 19, 2023
The Committee for Justice (CFJ) welcomed news of the issuance of a presidential pardon in Egypt, for a group of individuals sentenced by the judiciary, including Patrick George Zaki, social researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and lawyer and human rights defender, Mohammed el-Baqer. This follows several resignations from the National Dialogue Board of Trustees. The committee affirms that this is a step on a long road, considering the thousands of political detainees still in Egypt’s prisons.
Presidential pardon issued amid pressure:
Several platforms affiliated with the Egyptian authorities announced on their social media sites that the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has issued a decision to pardon Zaki and El-Baqer, along with several other detainees who had been sentenced by courts, without mentioning their names.
Exceptional Court Sentences:
The State Security Emergency Court, in a session held on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, handed down a three-year prison sentence to Zaki. This was in connection with Case No. 1086 of 2021, misdemeanor of State Security Emergency, linked with an opinion piece he authored in 2019 on the rights of Copts Christians in Egypt.
CFJ has documented the immediate arrest of Patrick by the security forces present in the courtroom following the announcement of the verdict. He was set to be transferred to the Gamsa police department to carry out the sentence, which cannot be appealed under the Emergency Law.
Meanwhile, in December 2021, the State Security Court in Egypt sentenced human rights lawyer Mohammed el-Baqer to four years in prison, convicting el-Baqer of spreading false news, a verdict that is not subject to appeal.