A professor of modern Arabic studies at the University of Cambridge has questioned the capacity of graduate students going to Egypt to be able to carry out research in the current climate, according to the Daily Northwestern.
In a lecture at the Northwestern University in Illinois, Khaled Fahmy said that oppression has escalated in Egypt since the torture and murder of Italian Ph.D. student Giulio Regeni, which he described as “unprecedented”.
[The Egyptian government] has gotten away with murder.
In 2016 Regeni’s body was dumped by the side of the road in Egypt bearing all the hallmarks of torture routinely and systematically carried out by Egypt’s security services.
Yet Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied any involvement in his killing.
Fahmy says there is continuous discrimination against conducting research in the country and that researchers are being accused of spying.
During the investigation into Regeni’s death a witness came forward to say he overheard Egyptian intelligence saying he had to be beaten because he was a spy.
Fahmy, who has not visited his home country for five years, said that key to developing a stable Egyptian state is freedom of the press.
Egypt is among the top four jailers of journalists worldwide.
Egyptian authorities have placed travel bans on professors and students, and asked them to seek official approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they want to travel for academic purposes.
In 2017 the Ministry of Higher Education assumed the power to nominate university officials.
In October last year the University of Edinburgh announced it had asked all students on scholarships with the American University in Cairo to return to London after two students were arrested by Egyptian authorities during the September protests.
Around that time there was an outcry after the European University of Egypt announced it will teach degrees under the academic direction of the prestigious London School of Economics.
In 2018 over 200 academics signed a letter opposing the partnership between British education institutions in the UK and Egypt after Regeni’s horrific death, which is still unsolved following repeated delays on the part of the Egyptian government.