Egyptian rights researcher and lawyer freed from detention

Egyptian rights researcher Patrick Zaki and lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer were freed on Thursday, a day after being pardoned by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in cases that drew fresh attention to Egypt's human rights record.

Zaki served 22 months in pre-trial detention before being sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday for spreading false news over an article he wrote on the plight of Egypt's Christians, and then pardoned a day later.

He told Reuters he planned to travel on Friday to Bologna in Italy, where he had been studying before he was arrested during a trip home in 2020.

Baqer was arrested in 2019 while attending the interrogation of his client Alaa Abd el-Fattah, Egypt's most prominent activist. He returned home on Thursday, according to social media posts by his family and lawyers.

Abd el-Fattah, along with many other detainees swept up in a decade-long crackdown on dissent, remains in prison.