Regeni's parents accuse Sisi of knowing about plan to murder their son

'As long as this barbarism remains unpunished, no-one in the world can stay in your country and feel safe'

Alessio Perrone
Monday 13 May 2019 18:39 BST
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(Reuters)

The parents of Giulio Regeni, the Cambridge University PhD candidate who was found dead in Cairo in 2016, have written an open letter to the Egyptian president demanding justice and accusing him of knowing about the plan to kill their son.

Paola and Claudio Regeni condemned Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s lack of action and said that the murder of their son and Egypt’s record of human rights violations cast a shadow on everyone’s safety in Egypt.

“It’s hard to believe that whoever kidnapped, tortured and killed our son Giulio […] acted without you knowing, or against your will,” reads their letter, published in Italian, English and Arabic on the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

“As long as this barbarism remains unpunished […] no-one in the world can stay in your country and feel safe.”

The body of Giulio Regeni, then a 28-year-old Italian PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge’s Girton College, was found by the roadside in Cairo on 3 February 2016, more than a week after he had disappeared.

It bore traces of “inhuman, animal-like” violence, including broken bones, signs of beating and cigarette burns. The 220-page post mortem report also found that letters and marks had been carved into his skin.

Government and security services deny taking Mr Regeni into custody. But security and intelligence sources admitted that he had been arrested by police outside a Cairo metro station on 25 January and there is evidence he had been followed and investigated before the arrest.

The Egyptian government has been heavily criticised for refusing to look into claims its security services may have been involved in the PhD student’s death, providing a number of bogus alternative explanations instead.

Last week, a new witness came forward and told Mr Regeni’s family he overheard an Egyptian intelligence agent speaking about “the Italian guy” and saying the student had been beaten because he was thought to be a British spy.

Giulio Regeni
Giulio Regeni

“In March 2016, […] you promised that ‘we will spread light and get to the truth, we will work with the Italian authorities to give justice and to punish the criminals who killed your son’,” reads the letter.

“You failed your promise.

“There hasn’t been any real collaboration from the Egyptian legal authorities.”

Egypt has not yet named suspects in the case. In April this year, Egyptian citizens have voted to allow Sisi stay in power until 2030. Italy has recently named five men of the Egyptian security apparatus, but Egyptian authorities failed to take any action.

“You have the chance to prove you’re a man of your word,” the letter challenged Sisi. “Hand over the five suspects to Italian justice.

“Show the world that is watching that you have nothing to hide.”

Extracts have been translated from Italian.

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