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Egypt security forces target Regeni family’s legal team

Activists take part in a rally in memory of Italian student Giulio Regeni on 6 February 2016 [Amr Sayed/Apaimages]

The legal defence team of the family of Italian researcher, Giulio Regeni, who was found dead in Cairo last year with torture wounds covering his body, has accused the Egyptian security forces of raiding its headquarters and trying to shut it down in the latest attempt by the Egyptian state to stifle the case.

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (a non-governmental organisation based in Cairo), which is acting as the Regeni family’s legal defence team, reported that Egyptian security raided its headquarters, located in the Agouza neighbourhood west of Cairo, yesterday “for unknown reasons”.

Ten days ago Ibrahim Metwaly, an Egyptian lawyer who represents Regeni’s family, was detained on his way to a UN conference, forcibly disappeared, tortured and detained on charges of joining a group founded illegally.

The Commission issued a statement quoting Regeni’s family today saying they are “deeply concerned for their lawyers and advisers in Cairo”.

Read more: Envoy in Cairo to reveal truth about Regeni’s murder

The Commission also noted that the incident occurred “while it was preparing to meet with Regeni’s family members soon in order to continue facilitating the investigation into his enforced disappearance, which was followed by his death in 2016″.

Adding, “This security visit is another attempt to silence civil society in Egypt and its timing is not coincidental. It comes one month after the UNHCR published an annual report on enforced disappearances in Egypt”.

The statement accused the Egyptian authorities of blocking the UNHCR website on 5 September with no official comment on the matter.

Cairo has been criticised by both local and international parties for its human rights abuses, a matter which the authorities routinely deny, asserting instead that it “supports freedom of expression”.

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