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Amnesty International prepares to rally over Regeni’s death in Egypt

Cambridge University researcher Guilio Regeni was in Egypt when his body was found badly-mutilated and in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo

Published: Updated:

Amnesty International UK is staging a rally and photo-call in Cambridge, UK, on Friday afternoon for Guilio Regeni, the Italian student who was killed in Egypt earlier this year, allegedly after being abducted and tortured.

Regeni, a 28-year-old PhD student at Cambridge University was in Egypt researching trade unions at the time of his disappearance in Cairo on Jan. 25. His body was found badly-mutilated and in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo on Feb. 3.

Friday’s protest is being organized by Cambridge University and Cambridge City Amnesty groups, and is supported by the Egypt Solidarity Initiative.

British politicians are expected to attend the rally, including Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner.

“What happened to Giulio Regeni was truly appalling and we’re deeply worried that the Egyptian authorities are attempting to cover up his death,” Amnesty International’s Cambridge City chair Liesbeth Ten Ham said.

“We need to see a full investigation that leaves no stone unturned,” she added.

It was reported that the Italian student had been detained by police and then transferred to a compound run by Homeland Security the day he vanished, according to intelligence and police sources.

The claims contradict the official Egyptian account that security services had not arrested him.

The absence of an official Egyptian statement about the cause of Regeni's death prompted different scenarios speculating the reason behind the young man’s death.

Authorities initially blamed Regeni’s death on a road accident. A second autopsy, done in Italy, determined that he suffered a fatal fracture of a cervical vertebra, either from a strong blow to the neck or from forced twisting of the neck.

Earlier this month, Cairo investigators have suggested that Regeni was kidnapped and killed by a criminal gang specialized in abducting foreigners, while posing as policemen.

All five members of the group were killed during what Egyptian authorities described as a shootout after the so-called criminals allegedly fired at a police checkpoint.

Three of the slain alleged criminals appeared to be members of the same family. Police also said they have found Regeni’s passport in the house of a relative of the alleged criminals.

Speaking to CNN, family member Rasha Tarek – who lost her husband, father and brother in the shootout – denied her kin were behind the kidnapping and killing of Regeni.

UK response

A petition calling for the UK Government to press the case for a full investigation into Regeni’s death has passed 10,000 signatures, requiring the government to respond to the initiative. The British government has previously called for a “full and transparent investigation” into Regeni’s murder, but has not yet responded to the petition.

“Where’s the outrage from the UK Government over this shocking killing?” Ham asked. “Giulio was a student at one of the UK’s best-known universities - it’s only right that the UK Government steps up its call for truth and justice in this case.”

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said: “There is a profound sense of shock and sadness in Cambridge at the tragic death of Giulio Regeni. I pay tribute to the work of local campaigners especially Amnesty International, to Cambridge University and the academics who organized the open letter. However, I am increasingly frustrated with the Government’s weak response.”