Italy working for Zaki's release - foreign min

Bologna Egyptian student being monitored by EU thanks to Italy

01 February, 18:05

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, FEBRUARY 1 - Italy is working for the release from detention in Egypt of Egyptian Bologna university graduate student Patrick Zaki, who has been held since February 7 last year on charges of inciting protests in the African country, the Italian foreign ministry said Monday.

    The ministry said Zaki is "the only one who is being constantly monitored by a group of foreign countries thanks to the Italian initiative".

    It added "in the last few days the foreign ministry, via its embassy in Cairo, has continued to raise awareness in the local authorities on the case in question, in order to favour the prompt release of the young student".

    The foreign ministry underscored that Monday's hearing on extending Zaki's preventive custody took place in his presence and in that of his lawyers.

    An Italian embassy functionary was also there within the framework of the trial monitoring programme coordinated by the European Union.

    The court's decision will be announced on Tuesday.

    Asked whether Zaki could be released, his lawyer Hoda Nasrallah only said on the telephone: "let's hope so, let's hope so". She added that, "like every time", she will go to the Prosecution's office for the security of the State to learn about the judge's decision.

    The hearing, which was held at the Institute for police assistants in the southern outskirts of Cairo, was as usual attended by an official of the Italian embassy in Cairo. There were also Italian, US and Danish diplomats, as ANSA could see at the location. The presence of diplomats in the building located near the prison complex of Tora, where the Egyptian student of the University of Bologna is detained, is usual and occurs as part of an EU program to monitor trials. The initiative is substantially suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic but it is being carried out in Zaky's case at the request of Italy's ambassador to Cairo, Giampaolo Cantini. The monitoring initiative is given an international, as well as a European connotation, by the presence of diplomats from non-EU countries, in Monday's case again the US.(ANSAmed). (ANSA).

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