Zaki had received a three-year sentence on Tuesday.
Egyptian human rights activist Patrick Zaki was pardoned by Egypt's president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Wednesday, a day after being handed a three-year jail term on accusations of "spreading false news".
Zaki, who recently graduated with honours from Bologna University in Italy, was arrested in Cairo in 2020 after writing about his experiences of discrimination as a Coptic Christian in Egypt.
Zaki, a 32-year-old researcher on gender issues for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), had been studying for a master's degree in Gender and Women's Studies in Bologna.
Il Presidente egiziano al-Sisi ha concesso la grazia a #PatrickZaki. Grazie alla politica estera del Governo abbiamo dato un contributo decisivo per liberare questo giovane studente. Risultati concreti attraverso il lavoro ed una credibilità internazionale.
— Antonio Tajani (@Antonio_Tajani) July 19, 2023
Zaki was accused of publishing false news with the intent of inciting social disturbance and using subversive propaganda against the Egyptian state, charges he has always denied.
His case sparked international condemnation, particularly in Italy, and in 2021 the country’s senate voted in 2021 to grant him Italian citizenship.
"It is a great joy for Bologna" - the city's mayor Matteo Lepore told La Stampa newspaper on Wednesday evening - "I hope it means embracing him soon and having him back in the city."
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