Giulio Regeni was being tracked and scrutinized under the watchful and ubiquitous eyes of Egyptian intelligence from the time he arrived in Cairo until his death, according to sources familiar with investigative documents cited by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Akhbar.
The files are part of the dossier that Cairo has promised to share with Italian investigators on Tuesday. Citing its anonymous sources, the newspaper reported that the files contain “important documents and information, photos and surveillance of Regeni from his arrival in Cairo until his death, countless reports, the secrets of his meetings with workers and leaders of trade unions on which he was conducting research.”
For the first time, Egypt will admit what has long been suspected by the Italian and Egyptian public: that the young Italian researcher was in the crosshairs of the pervasive Egyptian domestic intelligence for months. Evidence of that interest had already emerged from the testimony of Regeni’s friends, who, after the discovery of his tortured body, revealed that police had visited his Cairo apartment. They said Regeni had confided his anxiety after noticing that he’d been photographed at a union meeting in December.
After the Al-Akhbar revelations, it’s difficult to predict whether the Egyptian government will admit guilt. More likely, they might hang out a few low-level officers to satisfy their allies in Rome. And yet, with the spotlight finally turned upon the repressive regime, which for nearly three years has tightened its grip around post-revolution Egypt, this should be the moment for European governments and the mainstream press to denounce President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
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