The 25th January marks two years since the Italian PhD researcher Giulio Regeni disappeared in Cairo. His body was found ten days later on the side of the motorway, with clear signs of torture. Regeni, then 28, was conducting research for his doctorate at Cambridge University on independent trade unions in post-Arab Spring Egypt.
Two years on, we are not closer to find out who gave the order to abduct and torture him to death. Egyptian authorities have been trying to discredit his name and reputation, making false claims about his identity and about his presumed killers. What we do know is that the young researcher had been followed by authorities in the months before his disappearance because of his political interests. Recent evidence reveals that, probably in the hope to make some extra money, one of his informants ‘sold’ Regeni to secret services as a British spy (which, of course, he was not).
Giulio’s case is not an isolated one in Egypt. According to Amnesty International, Egyptian authorities regularly suppress demonstrations and dissent, detaining journalists, human rights defenders and intellectuals. This case also reminds us about the vulnerability of carrying out research in the field in countries where civil freedoms are denied.
Two years on, we call for truth and justice for Giulio Regeni and everyone else that has disappeared in the country.
For a longer read: Why was an Italian Graduate Student Tortured and Murdered in Egypt? By Declan Walsh
Amnesty International Press Release, 24th January 2018