Zerocalcare and other prominent artists celebrate Patrick Zaki's release from prison

Upon news of Patrick Zaki's release from prison, Zerocalcare and other prominent artists created portraits of the Egyptian activist. Street artist Laika reworked his 2020 work.

Più libri più liberi, the National Fair of Small and Medium-sized Publishers held at the Nuvola in Rome from December 4 to 8 and which chose to dedicate this edition to the theme of freedom, organized on Sunday, December 5, a meeting with Mohamed Hazem Abbas, a close friend of Patrick Zaki, the Egyptian activist who was kidnapped and imprisoned for almost two years in Cairo and who was finally released from prison yesterday, December 7.

At the meeting, Hazem Abbas read this important statement, “It has been almost two years since Patrick was kidnapped and imprisoned. He is in prison only because he is a political and human rights activist. His physical and mental condition is getting worse every day. Today we know that he has been moved from Cairo prison to Al Mansura prison in preparation for his trial tomorrow. We also learned that he was assaulted and beaten by the police. We hope that international pressure will be the key to his release from prison. That is why we are calling for everyone to be a voice for Patrick and the 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt. Let us not forget the heroism of these fighters.”

Then yesterday came the long-awaited news: his release from prison. “Patrick Zaki is free, there can be no better news for a Fair that wanted to dedicate its 20th anniversary to the theme of freedom,” commented the organizers of Più libri più liberi.

Following the Cairo court’s ruling, Più libri più liberi wanted to celebrate the young Egyptian’s release from prison: some of the most important comic book artists and illustrators present at the Fair, including Zerocalcare, LRNZ, ZUZU, Rita Petruccioli, Antonio Pronostico and Sergio Algozzino, were involved in a special initiative, in collaboration with Bao, Tunuè and Coconino Press. Each artist created a portrait of Patrick Zaki.

In addition to Più libri più liberi, street artist Laika also created her own work at the news. On the night of Dec. 7-8, the artist thundered to Villa Ada, Rome, near the entrance to theEgyptian Embassy to attach a new poster with the same protagonists as her iconic 2020 work. Giulio Regeni returns to embrace Patrick Zaki, in a reworking of the earlier work. This time, however, Zaki is no longer wearing a prison uniform, but is still protected by Giulio Regeni’s embrace, who whispers, “We’re almost there,” and Zaki asks him to hold him again. In front of the two, then, the Arabic word “innocent” is depicted in yellow.

“Patrick came out yesterday from the prison where he had been held since February 2020. He is not yet formally free but it is definitely a very important step forward,” Laika said. “Now we need to keep our attention even higher. Zaki must be cleared of all charges and return to freedom for good. Let’s not let our guard down. We are almost there.”

Zerocalcare and other prominent artists celebrate Patrick Zaki's release from prison
Zerocalcare and other prominent artists celebrate Patrick Zaki's release from prison

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