The family of slain Italian researcher Giulio Regeni have accused the Egyptian security apparatuses of torturing him to death last year in Cairo.
The then-PhD candidate at Cambridge University was staying in Egypt as a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo when he went missing on the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Uprising. Nine days later, his body was found in a ditch on the Cairo-Alexandria highway, bearing signs of torture, which raised suspicions that the Egyptian police were responsible for the researcher’s death. Egypt denies its security authorities’ involvement in the incident.
On Monday, Regeni’s parents and their lawyer spoke at a press conference at the Italian Senate about Regeni’s case. The lawyer said that the Italian authorities now know the place where Regeni was held and tortured, and that this place is affiliated to the Egyptian security authorities. She added that Italy also has the names of those who tortured the Italian researcher to death, but does not yet have definite information about the names of those who ordered his torture.
Claudio Regeni, the Italian researcher’s father, urged the European Union to support Italy in putting pressure on the Egyptian government to bring his son’s torturers to justice. He called on them to recall their ambassadors from Cairo, just like Italy recalled its ambassador last year, so as to exercise collective pressure on the Egyptian government.
If Europe did not stand by our side against those who killed one of its sons in Egypt, what is the value of what it says about defending human rights?
During the press conference, the head of the Italian Senate’s human rights committee, Luigi Manconi, called on his country’s government not to return the Italian ambassador back to Cairo.
In April 2016, around three months after Regeni’s death, Italy recalled its Cairo ambassador to Rome at a time when an Egyptian delegation of investigators was in the Italian capital to provide evidence and information related to Regeni’s case. Italy announced that the information provided by Egypt was not enough and recalled its ambassador for “an urgent evaluation” of what needed to be done to “ascertain the truth about the barbaric murder of Giulio Regeni,” according to an Italian foreign ministry statement. This was a major step bu the Italian side given that the two countries had strong relations before Regeni’s disappearance and murder.
The Italian senator added during Monday’s press conference that Egypt made many promises to Egypt that it would bring Regeni’s murderers to justice, but it has failed to keep its promises.
At the end of the press conference, Regeni’s mother Paola appealed to Pope Francis, who is set to visit Cairo on April 28, to bring up her son’s case when he is in the Egyptian capital. She was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying, “We are sure that the pope cannot fail to remember Giulio on this trip.”