Trial of Egyptian human rights researcher Patrick George Zaki pushed again till May
The trial of Egyptian human rights researcher and graduate student Patrick George Zaki before an emergency state security misdemeanour court over allegedly "spreading false information" has been adjourned till 9 May.
"My defence team argued in their defence that the charges against me are baseless since what I mentioned in the article [published in 2019] had already been published in newspapers and blogs before, as well as an interpellation request presented by a lawmaker before the parliament about the conditions of Copts," Zaki said to The New Arab.
"The judge adjourned the session on Tuesday, which lasted for 25 minutes, for the lawyers to present their defence memorandum," he added.
The article in question is titled, "Displacement, Killing and Harassment: A Week's Journal of Egypt's Copts and was published by the independent media outlet, Daraj. In the article, Zaki notes "several heinous discriminatory incidents against Egyptian Coptic Christians".
He further refuted discrepancies in the Egyptian constitution that give Christians equal rights as citizens while at the same time imposing Islamic Sharia Law as the source of legislation on them.
Zaki, an Egyptian-Italian graduate student at the University of Bologna, was arrested in February 2020 during a visit to Egypt and held in pre-trial detention for over a year and a half before his trial kicked off in September 2021.
Christians in Egypt are obligated to follow Islamic Sharia in all matters except marriage and divorce.
The percentage of Christians in Muslim-majority Egypt has never been officially released. But it is believed they make up approximately 10 to 15 per cent of the 103 million population; most of them are Coptic Orthodox and are among the world's oldest Christian communities.