“Cambridge has to break the silence.”
A year and two months after the discovery of Giulio Regeni’s corpse in a ditch between Cairo and Alexandria, the parents of the young researcher, Claudio Regeni and Paola Deffendi, have made a new appeal.
After the statement last week by the Italian Senate (“Italy will not return the ambassador to Egypt”), on Saturday the family turned its aim to the British university, speaking from the International Journalism Festival in Perugia.
To date Cambridge University has said very little, despite a letter of request from the Prosecutor of Rome dated June 6. A waiver signed by Regeni and his tutor, Maha Abdelrahman, a critic of the Egyptian government with deep knowledge of the regime’s oppressive practices, stated that there was no danger in performing research on independent trade unions in the country.
Beyond that, Cambridge has sent 10 files containing the emails exchanged between Regeni and the university, but nothing on the research itself.
Effective collaboration from the university is more necessary than ever to understand Regeni’s activities and contacts in Egypt, especially given the colossal reticence and false leads offered by the Egyptian regime. The silence of Cambridge and of Abdelrahman remain a stain on the investigation, possibly, as some have suggested, out of a desire to avoid legal problems.
From Perugia, the Regeni family has also broadened its appeal to the rest of Europe, guilty of ignoring the issue. “We’re lacking a bit of participation by other European states,” they said. “We tried to involve them, but so far it is not seen as something that goes beyond the individual national interest.”
Much stronger are other interests, from energy and trade to the fight against Islamist terrorism.