An Egyptian researcher and activist was reportedly detained at Cairo airport upon his arrival from Italy on Friday. According to media reports, the researcher was arrested for allegedly broadcasting false news and harming national security. Patrick Zaky, who is a graduate student at Bologna University in Italy was held on a warrant issued in September last year after he left Egypt to pursue his studies, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), a prominent rights organisation, said.
According to media reports Patrick Zaky was a researcher for Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and he is facing charges of "incitement to protest without a permit", "inciting to overthrow the state", "running a social media account intent on harming national security" and "broadcasting false news, as well as "promoting terrorist acts". Patrick was produced before the public prosecutor on Saturday and will be held in custody for 15 days.
As per media reports, several EIPR members have been temporarily detained since October last year in operations apparently targeting individuals who are politically active in any way. If EIPR is to be believed Patrick Zaky has been subjected to torture by the police while n custody overnight. Riccardo Noury, an Amnesty International spokesperson in Italy took to his Twitter handle to share the news of Patrick's arrest and also wrote that the researcher is facing the risk of prolonged detention and torture.
Media reports suggest that ever since Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has taken over as President of Egypt reports of a crackdown against critics have risen rapidly. Sisi was sworn in as President on June 8, 2014 after he led a military coup against former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The coup was in response to June 2013 Egyptian protests that called for a revolution in the country.