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Justice for Giulio Regeni

Egypt

Giulio Regeni, an Italian PhD student at Cambridge University, travelled to Cairo in September 2015 to research the city’s independent trade unions – a sensitive topic under President al-Sisi’s military regime.

On 25 January 2016 he went missing. Nine days later his body was found in a ditch on the side of the Cairo-Alexandria highway. It bore gruesome bruises and lacerations that indicated torture.

After two years of disinformation and slow progress in the investigation, it is now accepted – by NGOs, journalists and Italian investigators – that Egypt’s domestic security agency had Regeni under surveillance until his disappearance.

‘There is no doubt that the regime apparatus was involved,’ says Carlo Bonini, co-director of Nine Days in Cairo, a documentary that recently finished a tour of the UK to coincide with the two-year anniversary of Regeni’s death.

‘The Egyptian regime will have to eventually choose which men it will hold responsible for his death. But this depends on politics.’

So far, justice seems to be playing second fiddle to political interests. Italy and Egypt have a close relationship. Italy is Europe’s largest investor in Egypt, who it also relies on to reduce migration across the Mediterranean.

After a diplomatic stand-off, Italy has returned its ambassador to Cairo. The fear now is that finding those responsible for Regeni’s murder will be sidelined so that business can carry on as usual.

New Internationalist issue 510 magazine cover This article is from the February 2018 issue of New Internationalist.
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