Murder of Giulio Regeni

Murder of Giulio Regeni

Personalities

Giulio Regeni, born January 15, 1988 in Trieste, Italy1, is a student at Cambridge University, assassinated in Egypt after his kidnapping on January 25, 20162. Giulio Regeni was studying for a doctorate at Girton College, Cambridge University and was leading in Egypt sensitive research on independent labor unions. He grew up in Fiumicello, a town in the province of Udine, northeastern Italy.

Discovery of the body

Regeni’s mutilated and half-naked body was discovered in a suburb of Cairo on February 3, 2016, in a ditch along the highway that connects Cairo to Alexandria. His remains show signs of extreme torture: his body is entirely covered with bruises and abrasions caused by repeated beatings, considerable bruising caused by kicks, punches and sticks; there are more than twenty-four fractures, including seven broken ribs, all of the fingers and toes, as well as the legs, arms and shoulder blades; multiple stab wounds to the body including the soles of the feet, possibly done with an ice pick or similar instrument; numerous cuts all over the body inflicted with a sharp instrument, probably a razor; numerous cigarette burns; a larger burn between the shoulder blades caused by a hard, hot object; cerebral hemorrhage; a broken cervical vertebra, which ultimately caused his death.

Surveys

The Italian and Egyptian authorities carried out autopsies on Regeni’s body separately. On March 1, 2016, an Egyptian forensic official reports that Regeni was interrogated and tortured for up to seven days, at intervals of 10 to 14 hours straight, before being finally killed. The findings of the Egyptian autopsy have not been made public. A 300-page report of the findings of the Italian autopsy was handed over to the Rome prosecutor’s office, which denied previous claims about signs of electric shocks being administered to Regeni’s genitals.

On March 24, 2016, Egyptian police shot dead four men allegedly responsible for the kidnapping of Regeni. According to a message posted on the official Facebook page of the Ministry of the Interior3, the gang specialized in kidnapping and ransoming foreigners. During a police raid on the apartment of one of the members of this gang, the Egyptian police claim to have found many effects belonging to Regeni, including his passport and student card. However, the New Cairo prosecutor’s office subsequently denied that the criminal gang was involved in the murder.

On April 8, 2016, Italy announced that it had recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultation, in protest against the slowness of the investigation into the assassination, which the Egyptian authorities initially presented as “an accident of road ”then as“ a crime of a sexual nature ”and, finally, as“ a villainous kidnapping that would have gone wrong ”4.

On April 11, 2016, the Italian Ministry of Commerce announced the withdrawal of its export license to the company Hacking Team, an Italian company specializing in spy software which counts the Egyptian government among its state clients5.

On April 21, 2016, Reuters published a damning investigation, based on testimonies from members of the police and intelligence services. According to these sources, Giulio Regeni was arrested in Cairo on the evening of January 25 by plainclothes police near the Gamal Abdel Nasser metro station, before being taken to the Izbakiya police station in the city center in a white minibus carrying number plates reserved for the police. He was then reportedly quickly transferred to the Lazghouli National Security Center. Sources say they don’t know what happened to him afterward

Charges against the Egyptian government

Due to Giulio Regeni’s research activities and his political inclinations to the left, the security services of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government are strongly suspected of being involved in his assassination. First, Regeni disappeared on the evening of the fifth anniversary of the January 25 revolution, in the midst of a wave of arrests in revolutionary circles. On the other hand, the marks found on his body testify to a slow death as a result of torture commonly practiced by the security forces. Finally, the alleged “leads” launched in the Egyptian press to discredit the Italian student, presented as a foreign spy or as a homosexual, were seen as attempts to cover up the affair7.

For their part, the official media and the Egyptian government deny this interpretation, and maintain that secret agents belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood have.

Acted under cover, to embarrass the Egyptian government and destabilize relations between Italy and Egypt.

Giulo Regeni’s horrific torture and death sparked a worldwide scandal. More than 4,600 academics have signed a petition calling for an investigation into his death and the many disappearances that take place every month in Egypt. The Italian branch of Amnesty International launched on February 24, 2016 the campaign Verità per Giulio Regeni (“The truth for Giulio Regeni”). During a press conference, one of its representatives at the same time denounced the banality of death under torture in Egypt as well as “enforced disappearances”, of which the Italian daily Corriere della Sera has identified 532 cases in eight month4. A petition was also posted on Change.org, which received over 100,000 signatures.

On March 10, 2016, the European Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution condemning the torture and murder of Giulio Regeni and the ongoing human rights violations by Marshal al-Sisi’s government in Egypt. The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority.

Vigil in memory of Giulio Regeni at Amnesty International’s appeal, February 3, 2017 in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
On April 12, 2016, the British government, until then silent on the issue, declared that it had raised the case of Regeni’s death with the Egyptian authorities, and had demanded a full and transparent investigation. This declaration comes in the wake of a petition that has collected more than 10,000 signatures in the United Kingdom, asking the British government to guarantee a full investigation into this assassination8.

On April 14, 2016, an editorial in the New York Times described as “shameful” France’s silence in the face of Italy’s demands to put pressure on Egypt9,10

On December 14, 2020, in reaction to the decoration of Abdel Fattah al-Sissi by Emmanuel Macron, the Italian writer Corrado Augias announces that he is returning his legion of honor to France, refusing to share this honor with the Egyptian president . He declares that “President Macron should not have granted the Legion of Honor to a head of state who has objectively been complicit in atrocious criminals”.

Reactions from the international community

Giulo Regeni’s horrific torture and death sparked a worldwide scandal. More than 4,600 academics have signed a petition calling for an investigation into his death and the many disappearances that take place every month in Egypt. The Italian branch of Amnesty International launched on February 24, 2016 the campaign Verità per Giulio Regeni (“The truth for Giulio Regeni”). During a press conference, one of its representatives at the same time denounced the banality of death under torture in Egypt as well as “enforced disappearances”, of which the Italian daily Corriere della Sera has identified 532 cases in eight month4. A petition was also posted on Change.org, which received over 100,000 signatures.

On March 10, 2016, the European Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution condemning the torture and murder of Giulio Regeni and the ongoing human rights violations by Marshal al-Sisi’s government in Egypt. The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority.

On April 12, 2016, the British government, until then silent on the issue, declared that it had raised the case of Regeni’s death with the Egyptian authorities, and had demanded a full and transparent investigation. The statement comes in the wake of a petition that has collected more than 10,000 signatures in the UK, asking the UK government to ensure a full investigation into the murder.

On April 14, 2016, an editorial in the New York Times described France’s silence as “shameful” in the face of Italy’s demands to put pressure on Egypt.

On December 14, 2020, in reaction to the decoration of Abdel Fattah al-Sissi by Emmanuel Macron, the Italian writer Corrado Augias announces that he is returning his legion of honor to France, refusing to share this honor with the Egyptian president . He declares that “President Macron should not have granted the Legion of Honor to a head of state who has objectively been complicit in atrocious criminals”.

Giulo Regeni’s horrific torture and death sparked a worldwide scandal. More than 4,600 academics have signed a petition calling for an investigation into his death and the many disappearances that take place every month in Egypt. The Italian branch of Amnesty International launched on February 24, 2016 the campaign Verità per Giulio Regeni (“The truth for Giulio Regeni”). During a press conference, one of its representatives at the same time denounced the banality of death under torture in Egypt as well as “enforced disappearances”, of which the Italian daily Corriere della Sera has identified 532 cases in eight month4. A petition was also posted on Change.org, which received over 100,000 signatures.

On March 10, 2016, the European Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution condemning the torture and murder of Giulio Regeni and the ongoing human rights violations by Marshal al-Sisi’s government in Egypt. The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority.

On April 12, 2016, the British government, until then silent on the issue, declared that it had raised the case of Regeni’s death with the Egyptian authorities, and had demanded a full and transparent investigation. The statement comes in the wake of a petition that has collected more than 10,000 signatures in the UK, asking the UK government to ensure a full investigation into the murder.

On April 14, 2016, an editorial in the New York Times described France’s silence as “shameful” in the face of Italy’s demands to put pressure on Egypt.

On December 14, 2020, in reaction to the decoration of Abdel Fattah al-Sissi by Emmanuel Macron, the Italian writer Corrado Augias announces that he is returning his legion of honor to France, refusing to share this honor with the Egyptian president . He declares that “President Macron should not have granted the Legion of Honor to a head of state who has objectively been complicit in atrocious criminals”.

Murder of Giulio Regeni: The truth may shock, says the president of the Italian Council

ROME (Reuters) – The murder trial of Giulio Regeni, an Italian student killed in Cairo in 2016, is likely to reveal shocking facts, said Italian Council President Giuseppe Conte in an interview published on Tuesday.

Italian prosecutors in charge of the investigation announced Thursday their intention to indict four prominent members of the Egyptian security services.

In Cairo, authorities deny any involvement in the murder of the Cambridge University sociology student, who was researching Egyptian unions. Giulio Regeni, who was 28, disappeared in Cairo on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s reign. His body, which showed signs of torture, was found almost a week later.

“This story saddens us, but a trial organized by our judicial authorities will begin (…), a real trial, serious and credible. This trial is the means of knowing the truth, which unfortunately risks being shocking,” said the head of government in the interview he gave to La Stampa.

“Egypt must and can do a lot more,” he adds.

The Egyptian justice, which announced last month the provisional classification of its investigation, expressed reservations on the elements collected by the Italian investigators. The latter judged Cairo’s cooperation insufficient, according to judicial sources.

The recent visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sissi to Paris, where he was received and decorated with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor by Emmanuel Macron, also moved Rome. Italian writer Corrado Augias has announced his intention to render his own Legion of Honor.

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