Analysis. Cairo knew what it was doing and could have saved Giulio: the immediate Italian mobilization gave Egypt ‘time to intervene and save Regeni’s life.’ Yet Italian weapons and diplomacy continue to court the regime.

Italian Commission finds Egypt carried out Regeni’s murder – will the government act?

“We know, thanks also to the extraordinary work of the judiciary, that Giulio Regeni was kidnapped, tortured and killed by the Egyptian security services, in particular by officials of the National Security Agency.”

This is the summary given to il manifesto by the honorable Erasmo Palazzotto (LeU), the head of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the kidnapping, torture and murder of Giulio Regeni, of the central point of the Commission’s final report.

It is a report full of heavy accusations, approved unanimously after two years of “extraordinary work.” Prime ministers, ministers and former ministers, researchers, NGOs and experts all came before the Commission. Their findings support the ceaseless investigative activity of the Rome Public Prosecutor’s Office, which has indicted four of the alleged torturers of the Italian researcher (the trial is “suspended” at the moment due to the inability to properly serve the defendants, and the next hearing is set before the Rome preliminary judge on January 10).

There are three key elements established in the report: the direct responsibility of the Egyptian secret services and the material and political responsibility of the regime of former General al-Sisi; the need for Italy to stop its ineffective strategy of normalization which has failed to get even scraps of truth back; and “the substantial isolation of Italy,” with the EU countries refusing to put joint pressure on Cairo and instead moving to occupy any space—economic and political—left open by Rome.

“It is necessary and urgent,” Palazzotto argues, “that there should be concrete activation at our highest institutional levels, the government in particular, to demand and obtain justice from a regime that so far has hindered the truth in every way, distracting investigations and covering up the responsibilities of its own apparatus. Our country must make its voice heard in Europe and use all the tools of diplomacy and international law to exert pressure on a regime that refuses any cooperation.”

For this reason, the report just approved will be brought before Parliament, to give it concrete effect as well as political force: “On the political level, a motion passed unanimously has a very significant weight,” Palazzotto concludes. “In addition, the Commission has given me a mandate for the report to be discussed on the floor. If there is a vote, it will be a commitment of Parliament, therefore binding on the government.”

The leaders of our country are thus once again being put under accusation by this terrible event, which in almost six years has still not led to the truth. The Commission does not spare criticism in reconstructing the state of “business as usual,” resulting from a normalization of relations that made Egypt think that, after all, the special relationship had not been undermined by the days of torture and the broken neck of a young researcher: “The other party began to harbor the opinion that the matter was closed, or at least confined to a secondary level of importance.”

This was an idea deriving from the Italian foggy-mindedness that has led to calling the relationship with Cairo “inescapable,” for instance by the current Foreign Minister Di Maio, confirmed by the sale of two Fremm frigates and light weapons to the Egyptian police (responsible for cementing the current regime with the structural repression of dissent).

It’s happening again as we write: the first sponsor of the military fair taking place in Egypt from November 29 is Fincantieri, and two Italian companies will be present at the H2 pavilion, Iveco and Intermarine.

Cairo knew what it was doing and could have saved Giulio: the immediate Italian mobilization, at every level, since his disappearance on January 25, 2016 gave Egypt “time to intervene and save Regeni’s life. The responsibility for this inaction rests entirely on the Egyptian leadership.”

The Egyptian leadership then played its cards based on the reactions of its ally, as happened on February 3, the day Giulio’s body was found: “The very surprised and negative reaction of the Egyptian side should be noted. This can give the impression that for the Egyptians, having Giulio Regeni found should have been enough to close the case and resume the normal course of bilateral relations.”

From this moment, the minute work of deception began, impossible to carry out without the involvement of the political leadership. Six years later, the Commission is convinced it’s still possible to arrive at the truth “with the presence of genuine Egyptian collaboration,” which can only be obtained with “a decisive and consequential act on the part of the government,” which would have to put justice for Giulio “on a par with questions of a geopolitical and strategic nature.”

A further boost could come from effective international solidarity, both towards Italy and towards the Egyptian people, by the EU and the UN: through arms embargoes, the opening of an international dispute, or perhaps by ceasing to do business with a brutal regime.

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mr. Sanchez, did the opposite on Wednesday, renewing the financial cooperation protocol with Cairo to the tune of €400 million.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your weekly briefing of progressive news.

You have Successfully Subscribed!