FILE - Patrick Zaky
CAIRO – 14 February 2020: Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal slammed the recent remarks of the European Parliament President as he called for Patrick Zaky, an Egyptian researcher who was arrested once he returned to Cairo from Italy, to be freed immediately.
Abdel Aal, in an official statement circulated by local media on Friday, called David Sassoli’s remarks unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Egypt and an abuse of the Egyptian judicial authority and justice procedures.
The speaker said such “unjustifiable and unacceptable” remarks of Sassoli discourage dialogue between the two parliamentary institutions, and described the comments as gun jumping.
Abdel Aaal said it is shocking that the content of Sassoli’s remarks encourages not applying the law to anyone who commits a crime, in contradiction with the European side’s continuous call for respecting law.
He also expressed his regret that the president of the European Parliament relied, in his statement, on incorrect information that are not based on clear evidence and that are provided by politicized organizations that lack credibility.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry on Sunday said Patrick George, a researcher in an Italian university who was arrested in the Cairo International Airport, is an Egyptian citizen, denying earlier reports that he is an Italian national.
Patrick George Zaky Seliman is his full name, the Interior Ministry said on its Facebook page, adding that the prosecution decided to detain him for 15 days pending investigation.
Patrick is a researcher in the University of Bologna, in northern Italy. The Italian authorities have reportedly called for releasing him, but did not claim he is an Italian citizen.
Preliminary investigations reveal that Patrick faces accusations of spreading false news and statements to distort social peace, inciting people to protest without obtaining a permit, seeking to overthrow the regime through incitement and promoting principles and thoughts that lead to changing the basic principles of the constitution, according to media reports.
He also faces charges of managing and using an online account for the purpose of disturbing public order, harming national security and promoting the commission of a terrorist crime and the use of violence.