Amid Italy’s continued persistence for the Egyptian authorities to immediately provide all findings from the investigations into Giulio Regeni’s death, and Italy’s accusations towards the University of Cambridge for allegedly not cooperating with investigations, Egypt still insists that it is treating the case “as if the victim was an Egyptian”.
Regeni was a Cambridge scholar conducting PhD research in Egypt about the political and economic situation. He met with activists and syndicate workers as he was conducting research on labour unions in Egypt. This obviously did not appeal to Egyptian security services. Several rights organisations accused the National Security Apparatus of torturing and killing Regeni, accusations which Egypt has continued to deny.
Regeni went missing on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, according to his friends who said he never arrived in downtown Cairo. His body was found on 3 February dumped on the side of a road outside Cairo, showing physical signs of tortures such as cigarettes burns and bruises, according to the forensic team and prosecution officials.
On Friday, Reuters released a 3000-word report in which the news agency pieced together all the available findings, testimonies and speculations pertaining to the incident. Ten days prior to his disappearance, Regeni was talking on Skype with a German academic researcher who said that he told her about his suspicions. She claimed that he said he had to be careful “where he goes and with whom he meets”, according to the report. She added that he felt “anxious”.
The Reuters report came after Italian media outlets said that Regeni’s phone records disclosed that he was being monitored by five police officers prior to his disappearance.
Citing intelligence and security sources who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, the news agency reported in April that Regeni was detained by police prior to his death, contradicting the claims of the Egyptian security forces who denied arresting him.
Earlier last week, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi accused the University of Cambridge of failing to fully cooperate in the investigations into Regeni’s death, saying that the university’s stance is “inexplicable”. However, a spokesperson for the university rejected these claims and stressed that Cambridge had fully cooperated and would continue to do so.
The spokesperson denied any requests from Italian prosecutors for the university’s authorities, saying that the university had offered assistance and responded to all inquiries.
“We understand the frustration of Italian prosecutors due to the conclusions that have been put forward so far by the Egyptian authorities. The university has pressed the Egyptian authorities to explain Giulio’s death. We have also called on the British government to put pressure on [the responsible authorities] and have backed the Italian government’s efforts to discover the truth,” the spokesperson said.
Following the death of Regeni, his mother Paola Regeni said that she only recognised “the tip of his nose” when identifying his body.
Tension erupted between Egypt and Italy following Regeni’s death. Italy decided earlier in June to cut military aid to Egypt for failing to provide fruitful findings, Italy further recalled its ambassador in Egypt following the incident.