On Jan. 25, 2016, in Cairo, an Italian student named Giulio Regeni was arrested, transferred to one or more detention centers while being denied all contact with the outside world, and in the following days subjected to savage torture and finally murdered. His name was added, sadly, to the long list of Egyptian men and women who have fallen victim to forced disappearances and were tortured to death in Egypt.
In the immediate aftermath, those from both Egypt and Italy who are familiar with the system of human rights violations in the North African country suspected this was a state crime. Also immediately, those who are defending human rights in Egypt, who are constantly taking risks and often punished with jail time, understood how important it would be to investigate thoroughly and tear at the foundations of the impunity of the country’s judicial system—to find the truth for the Italian Giulio, and then try to find it for all the Egyptian Giulios as well.
As is well known, the Egyptian authorities have chosen a strategy of misdirection, endless delays and broken promises. They have targeted lawyers and activists directly or indirectly involved in the search for the truth.