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Giulio Regeni case. Despite provocation after provocation from Cairo, the Roman government insists normalizing relations with Egypt is the best way to find the culprit in the researcher’s murder.

Egypt arrests Regeni’s lawyer, but Italy line hasn’t changed

Attorney Ibrahim Metwaly Hegazy, who represents Giulio Regeni’s family, has been arrested by the Egyptian police. He disappeared last Sunday at Cairo International Airport while he was about to take the plane to Geneva, where he was expected to join the meeting of the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

While the Egyptian Internal Affairs Ministry hid behind “no comment” and “no information” on the case, the Egyptian Commission on Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) said that its research found that Hegazy had appeared before a Cairo security magistrate under arrest.

At press time, we had no information on formal allegations. But the Egyptian authorities had already blocked the ECRF website, where the NGO had published the latest report on forced disappearances in Egypt. El-Sisi’s government deemed it as “full of slanders.” ECRF had sent Hegazy, whose son disappeared in 2013, to Geneva to speak about Regeni’s murder and the many disappeared Egyptians.

And yet, it seems that the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has not learned anything. After listening to a meeting of the parliamentary committee overseeing Italian intelligence for two hours on Tuesday, he just repeated: “The quest for the truth about Regeni’s death is a duty of state,” justifying again the return of Italian Ambassador Cantini to Cairo, as an action that “helps the quest for truth.”

This position is shared by the committee chair, Giacomo Stucchi (of the far-right Lega Nord political party), who seeks to shift attention to the “evaluations” to be done “on Cambridge University too.”

Ambassador Cantini, who is preparing to settle tomorrow in Cairo, was received Tuesday by Senate President Pietro Grasso who made many recommendations on “the delicacy of the task assigned to him.” However, the common agenda of the two countries will be drawn up Thursday by Minister Alfano, who will meet his Egyptian colleague Sameh Shoukry in London on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting on Libya.

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