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Interview. Egyptian blogger and activist Wael Abbas on the death of Guilio Regeni.

Wael Abbas: “There is no conspiracy against the Egyptian regime”

 

Wael Abbas is an Egyptian blogger. He commented for il manifesto the prominent events of the Egyptian uprisings. We asked him to reconstruct the circumstances of the arrest, detention and torture of Guilio Regeni.

What happened to the Italian researcher [Giulio Regeni]?

It is apparent that he was arrested, interrogated and killed. They disappeared and tortured him until he died.

This treatment is one of the methods that only the Egyptian police could have perpetrated.

Is it possible that Regeni was arrested as a foreigner?

On Jan. 25 the police were everywhere. Egypt has become a xenophobic country. The media are xenophobic. All supporters of the left are spies. All foreigners are spies preparing an invasion of the country, real or imaginary.

For the heavy deployment of forces on that day, it is impossible that this was an act of petty crime. If he had been kidnapped, it would not have happened that day. And then he lived in downtown Cairo, a safe area.

Why have they waited so long to announce the news?

The people who lived with him would have to go public with his disappearance the same night. Under Egyptian law, if someone disappears, you have to report the disappearance after 24 hours. The police then would obviously say he was not arrested and no one knows the whereabouts of his body. And the police do not give any help to find the missing. If a person is then charged with a political crime, they automatically lose their humanity.

The Interior Minister said that in a country of 90 million people like Egypt it is not a problem that a few hundred disappear – this is said by a government official.

Is it possible that Regeni was stopped for the subject of his academic research?

Egypt hates scholars and journalists who deal with this. They prevent them from entering or deport them. But it is the first time that a foreigner has been killed in such an atrocious way. I hope it does not happen again. This happened in the Argentine and Chilean military dictatorships.

Why have allegations of homosexuality been put forward?

The conditions of the corpse did not corroborate a road accident or robbery. At that point it was necessary another track. They are saying that Regeni had a homosexual partner and this is why he was killed. They then arrested two homosexuals, accusing them of killing him.

And then Regeni may have been even stopped only because he was a foreigner?

These suggestions are credible. That foreigners’ safety is being targeted is clear, as evidenced by the cases of the Mexican tourists and the cover-up of the investigation of the plane crash of Russian Metrojet 9268. Foreigners have been convicted -the son of an American official was arrested in Cairo. The US government has had to pay millions to release him from prison, which Hillary Clinton confirmed.

He was believed to be in a clash between the police and military. In other words is there a conspiracy in place?

It is clear that Sisi is not aware of any arrest. Ten thousand people have been arrested lately. He knows that Egyptians and foreigners are being arrested and killed. Anyone who has done so has acted in their own interests.

It is conducting a widespread repression of the left?

Socialists and Communists are a problem. Sisi adopts a neo-liberal project. He wants to privatize electricity and water. He does not care for workers’ wages. He has a vision of right and this is why the left is now the enemy.

Yet Sisi has now got everything from the presidency to parliament, why not relax its repressive policies?

Dictators never relax. They go on to self-destruction. He feels threatened and is in danger every moment. The people around him make him feel so because they protect him while continue to profit off of us. And they do not want things will change in any way.

 

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