Egypt: Activist claims watching a leak on Regeni’s death, and trial of Zaki postponed

A well-known YouTuber and political activist said he watched the death moment of the killing of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Patrick Zaki, the trial of a human rights advocate that had campaigned for the truth about the 2016 murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo, was postponed; as an Egyptian court on Tuesday postponed for the third time in a round the trial of activist Patrick Zaki to 6 April, according to Reuters.

Leaked Footage on Regeni’s killing

In an interview with journalist Osama Gawish, on the Al-Hiwar TV channel, located in London, the well-known YouTuber and political activist Aly Hussin Mahdy said that the death moment Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni was recorded in a footage, adding that he personally watched that video.

Mahdi said that one of them had put a gun to Regeni’s head and was threatening to kill him clearly to force him to confess to charges he did not do, before Regeni, who was sitting on his knees while tied, died under torture at the National Security headquarters.

The Egyptian political activist accused the Egyptian security officers of being sadistic, as they filmed that video to enjoy watching it afterwards.

However, Mahdi said that he cannot release the leak because of pressure practiced on him, especially as some of his family members are still in Egypt.

Patrick Zaki

Zaki, a 28-year-old researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), had been studying at Italy’s Bologna University when he was taken into custody upon his return to Cairo in February 2020. His detention followed his publication of an article about the plight of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority.

Patrick Zaki was freed in December after the Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court ordered his provisional release pending trial on charges of “calling for protests without permission”, “spreading false news” and “inciting violence and terrorism”.

Tuesday’s hearing was the third time Zaki’s trial was adjourned since the first session, on 14 September 2020.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) told Middle East Eye that Zaki was subject to physical torture in the days after his arrest.

The Italian prime minister had welcomed Zaki’s release and said his government is closely watching the case.

Prior to his arrest, Zaki campaigned for the truth about the 2016 murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni.

His arrest sparked a solidarity campaign in Italy, with politicians and activists urging Egyptian authorities to release him. Regeni’s family has also expressed solidarity with the activist.

In April, the Italian Senate voted to approve a proposal by two lawmakers urging the government to grant Zaki Italian citizenship.

Meanwhile, more than 50 Italian cities have announced the granting of “honorary citizenship” of their city to Zaki. This was done, EIPR said, in order to show their appreciation for his work as a human rights defender and to demand his immediate release in a campaign called 100 Cities with Patrick, launched by a group of human rights activists in Italy.

Egypt has embarked on a brutal crackdown on dissent since a coup led by then-defence minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2013, jailing more than 60,000 activists and imposing strict censorship measures on public discourse.

Sisi has consistently denied that there are political prisoners in Egypt, framing the crackdown as part of a fight against terrorism.

Three other colleagues of Zaki at the EIPR, including the organisation’s head, Gasser Abdel Razek, its criminal justice director, Karim Ennarah, and an administrator, Mohamed Basheer, were briefly detained in November 2020 after meeting with diplomats from France, the United States and several other European countries to discuss Egypt’s human rights conditions.

They were released a month later after a high-profile international campaign calling for their release.