Overnight on March 24 and 25, the family of Giulio Regeni discovered that their “gloomiest predictions had finally come true.” Yet another red herring had been served on a silver platter, literally — their late son’s personal effects allegedly discovered in the hands of a criminal gang, a story widely dismissed as further misdirection by the Egyptian interior minister.
That’s when Regeni’s family decided to speak directly to reporters, without the mediation of the government of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Despite the difficulty of doing so, they appeared in public with the yellow Amnesty International banner — “Truth for Giulio Regeni” — and said that by holding a press conference, “we renew our sorrow.” But at this point it’s “a necessary pain,” they said. “What happened to Giulio in Egypt is not an isolated case.”
Regeni’s parents, Paola Deffendi and Claudio Regeni, choked back tears and with clarity talked about their son and the agonizing experience surrounding his death. Addressing media from around the world, they were joined by the chairman of the Commission for Human Rights Luigi Manconi, their lawyer Alessandra Ballerini and the spokesman for Italian Amnesty International Riccardo Noury.
The impression is that they still have confidence in Italian institutions, particularly in the Rome prosecutor’s office, and in their ability to obtain real cooperation from the Cairo authorities. But they have reached the end of their patience. Investigators are scheduled to meet again in Rome in a few days, and when they do, Deffendi asks: “What will the Egyptians bring?” The chief prosecutor of Rome, Giuseppe Pignatone, requested documents two months ago — a request reiterated by Ballerini and her Egyptian colleague, so as to increase the pressure. To date, the Egyptians have not shared all the evidence.