SAR Italy: Initiatives in support of Patrick George Zaki

Pubblichiamo a nome della prof. Esther Gallo, referente e coordinatrice di SAR Italy, la seguente lettera per prendere coscienza della problematica degli studiosi a rischio e per proporre azioni congiunte e coordinate tra SAR Italy e SAR International in supporto della liberazione del ricercatore Patrick George Zaki. 

Con preghiera di diffusione e condivisione.

In the last few days we have been in touch with Alexandra Bell and Clare Robinson – who coordinate the advocacy activities for SAR International – regarding possible joint initiatives between SAR Italy and SAR International in support of Patrick George Zaki.

Further information: SAR monitoring report; AFTE and EIPR statements; Bologna statement see this tweet.

We were hesitant to take initiatives as SAR Italy as we were not sure about Zaki’s family and lawyer position.

SAR was eventually able to be in touch with Patrick’s lawyers who are also in contact with his family. They welcome public advocacy from SAR and they will be receptive to them and that they will be effective.

Patrick’s lawyers requested that we don’t refer to his academic work and research as specific to the LGBTQI+ community. They fear that he could face further charges and fear for his safety while in detention. Instead, they advise that we refer to his work and research on Gender and Human Rights more broadly. I think it would be helpful to include the demands of his lawyers in the letters, which are: the immediate unconditional release of Patrick without pressing charges, allowing him to go back to resume his studies in Bologna university; the investigation of his torture.

What we propose is that we work on drafting a petition letter in coordination with Alexandra Bell and Clare Robinson and that we circulate this to all the SAR Italy network in order to gather the signatures of the Rectorts/President who would be willing to subscribe to the initiative.

We believe that a joint statement is preferable to letters signed individually by Rectors/President.

Therefore, once we circulate the letter (next week) we would ask you to let us know if your Rector/President is willing to sign within the following 7-10 days.

We can then organise a way to collect signatures and to have a common document.

We wanted to propose this beforehand so to gather possible suggestions, as well as to anticipate this to your home institutions.

Ester Gallo, also for Claudia Padovani and Francesca Helm


L’Osservatorio su Nuovi Autoritarismi e Democrazie (NAD) supporta l’attività di SAR Italy e SAR International (Scholar At Risk) per la libertà di ricerca accademica nel mondo. 

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