Italy sanctions Egypt over stalled Regeni investigation
The Cambridge postgrad was abducted and tortured in Egypt early this year.
Italy has voted to block a defence contract with Egypt, a symbolic expression of their frustration over the slow investigation into Regeni’s murder.
The Girton student was kidnapped while conducting PhD research into independent trade unions. This allegedly brought him to the attention of Egyption security services.
His corpse was found more than a week after his disappearance with horrifying injuries. The Egyptian interior ministry has ultimately blamed the crime on a local gang, which abducted foreigners while posing as policemen, although they initially said it was a violent robbery, and then said it was the result of an argument with a gay lover.
Regeni’s family has criticized the verdict, calling it an “outrageous set-up“. They have threatened to release photos of Giulio Regeni’s body unless Italy and other EU countries pressure Egypt to conduct a more thorough investigation.
International discussion has led to demands for the Egyptian government to step up their investigation. Rallies have been held in Cambridge calling for Justice for Giulio. CUSU has also passed an emergency motion calling for a “complete and full investigation”.
The Italian Parliament last week voted to no longer provide spare parts for Egypt’s planes, punishing Egypt for its lack of cooperation with the inquiry. The move comes after Italy’s decision to withdraw its ambassador to Cairo in April.
The Italian upper house passed the vote 159-55. Centre-right politicians opposed the move, saying that it would harm the Italy-Egypt intelligence relationship that was working to combat ISIL.
Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has called for further investigations into the murder, writing in The New Statesman “someone murdered Giulio, and it is the duty of friends to bring them to justice”.
The vote now has to be approved by the Italian Parliament’s lower house.