Three hundred sixty-five days ago, at 07:41 p.m., the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni was kidnapped in Cairo. Then he was brutally tortured for days and finally killed.
The Egyptian regime of former General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has built a thick curtain of fog and false leads around his murder, sometimes announcing convenient truths or falsehoods. First described as a crime of passion, then as the work of common criminals, the Egyptian government has found scapegoats to ward off the responsibility for its operational arm, the police and the secret services.
And now they are presenting another smokescreen: Abdallah, the corrupt leader of the hawkers’ union, who ordered the hit either alone or perhaps with the help of “bad apples.” Regeni’s work involved the Egyptian unions. It is a sensitive issue, given the harsh repression of the political opposition and human rights NGOs. Most opposition representatives ended up in jail after the bloody coup in the summer of 2013.
Impudently, the Cairo regime has insisted — even as it claims its full cooperation with Italian investigators — on declaring this was an “isolated incident.” On the contrary, over this long and sad year, there has been further proof — thanks in part to our contribution, regardless of the misunderstandings — that the Regeni case was one of a widespread and customary practice: forced and violent disappearances.
And el-Sisi has been the ringleader for years. According to data from Egyptian human rights organizations, there were 912 forced disappearances between the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2016. It is not by chance that young Egyptians consider Regeni “one of us.”
Il manifesto has always sought to break the silence on one issue: the serious responsibility of the Italian government.
In fact, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was the first European leader to welcome coup leader el-Sisi. First, Renzi went on a business trip to Cairo and then he welcomed el-Sisi in Italy with open arms and credited him as “a great leader.” Therefore, ever since Regeni’s murder, there has been little initiative on the part of Italy. The ambassador was recalled and the appointment of a new one has been suspended. It is an abnormal situation, but it is better if it stays that way.
The classification of Egypt as an “unsafe country,” as requested by the Regeni family, is still pending. Today, the family renewed its pain. In the meantime, the oil deals have not stopped. On the contrary.
These are the messages reaffirmed today and shouted in Rome, in Fiumicello and in many Italian cities. We’ve carried them in a special section of il manifesto today.