Lawyer investigating Cambridge student’s murder arrested in Cairo
Ibrahim Metwaly Hegazy could face up to five years in prison
Ibrahim Metwaly, the lawyer investigating the case of murdered University of Cambridge student Giulio Regeni, was arrested at Cairo International Airport as he prepared to fly to to Geneva to address a UN meeting.
He is being detained for 15 days in Cairo’s high-security Torah prison on charges of "managing an illegal group, spreading false news… [and] cooperating with foreign organisations." If found guilty, he faces up to 5 years in prison.
Metwaly is the co-founder of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared, an organisation comprising relatives of those who have been subjected to enforced disappearance. This occurs when a person is secretly arrested and held in an unknown location without access to legal services.
Among the 1,300 cases Metwaly has recorded are that of his own son, Amr, who went missing in 2013 shortly after the military overthrew President Morsi, and Giulio Regeni, an Italian student at the University of Cambridge, who disappeared in January 2016. His body was found two weeks later bearing signs of extreme torture.
The identity of his attackers remains a mystery. However, despite Egyptian officials repeatedly denying that Regeni died in custody, they have since admitted that security services were monitoring the student.
Leading human rights lawyer Mohamed Lofty has stated that Metwaly’s arrest is part of the Egyptian government’s strategy to "lock down" the country and "isolate it from the rest of the world, ensuring only the voice of the government comes out."