He may not like it, he may be the head of the regime that assassinated our Giulio Regeni, but in the story of "Patrick George Zaki" there is only one winner: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Let's go over the story: a student deluded that freedom of speech is a universal right, probably forgetting that he is "Egyptian", recounted episodes of discrimination in his country on Facebook in 2019.
The following year he was arrested in Cairo and spent 22 months in a prison amidst ill-treatment and torture on charges of: dissemination of false news aimed at undermining social peace, inciting social protest without permission, incitement to commit acts of violence and terrorism, managing a social account that undermines public safety e call for the overthrow of the state.
Italians and politicians (of every rank and color) take to the streets and attach posters to every "balcony", bringing the issue to a European level. Petitions, resolutions, letters, honorary citizenships (with no legal value) donated by dozens of municipalities...
The detention was suspended on 8 December 2021 with the release of Zaki as a result of an order which, however, provides for the continuation of the trial.
On 18 July 2023 he was definitively sentenced to 3 years in prison.
"Nothing strange" will say those who know those coordinates of law and rights in geographical terms.
July 19 comes the master stroke by the Egyptian president who, knowing how to make fun of the Europeans (and the Italians in particular) without affecting the rule of law in his regime, grants the grace.
On July 20, Zaki is free.
On July 23, after a useless and pitiful race to get hold of, to the sound of state flights (the interested party has repeatedly declined), merits for what is "paid" (the political cost is often much more expensive than the ransoms to which we are in any case accustomed) and related dream photos (!) under the ladder of an airplane, Zaki returns to Italy.
A number of questions remain unresolved…
Have civil rights improved in Egypt? Negative! There condemnation represents a clear political and social warning to every compatriot (by Patrick Zaki).
Has the (Egyptian) regime found itself in trouble for torturing one of its citizens? On the contrary, he has elaborated an amazing happy ending to mitigate the eternal protests for the murder of an Italian, Giulio Regeni, and now even appears in credit!
Has the weight of Italians improved? It is not one iota: if you have Italian citizenship you can suffer identical or worse treatments in any country of the world and you will have no protection, let alone a shred of manifesto (see the example, among too many, of the fellow citizen Andrea Costantino).
Lastly, a thought goes to the great leaders who have defended and improved respect for human rights in their own countries: characters like Mohāndās Karamchand Gāndhī or Nelson Mandela... Imprisoned, condemned and tortured for a long time for their own ideas, would they have ever accepted a definitive sentence and an instantaneous "political pardon" capable of keeping injustice unchanged in their own land?
Photo: Presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt