The parents of slain Italian student Giulio Regeni appeared before the European Parliament on Wednesday, calling on its members to push Egypt to conduct a transparent investigation into his murder.
Claudio Regeni, Giulio’s father, exhorted the parliament to apply both political and economic pressure, reported the Italian news outlet ANSAmed.
“I ask the member states to recall their ambassadors, declare Egypt an unsafe country, suspend accords on sending weapons and inter-force [collaboration] on spying and internal repression, suspend economic accords, monitor trials against activists, militant lawyers and journalists fighting for freedom in Egypt, and offer protection and collaboration, also by offering visas to those who can offer news to Rome prosecutors,” Claudio Regeni stated.
“I don’t understand whether Italy is still a friend of Egypt or not. You don’t kill the children of your friend,” added Giulio’s mother, Paola Regeni.
In March, the European Parliament had passed a non-binding resolution condemning torture in Egypt in light of Regeni’s “abduction, savage torture and killing.” The parliament emphasized that Regeni’s murder was not an isolated incident, but occurred within “a context of torture, death in custody and enforced disappearances across Egypt in recent year.”
The resolution called on Egyptian authorities to provide their Italian counterparts with key information and materials related to Regeni’s case.
While relations between Egypt and Italy have been strained since the murder, Italy has continued normal economic relations with Egypt. Italy had initially withdrawn its ambassador to Egypt following Regeni’s death, but appointed a new non-resident ambassador in May.
Regeni disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the January 25 revolution while on his way to visit a friend in downtown Cairo, an area that was heavily occupied by security forces that day. His body was found on the side of a road in February showing signs of torture, including cuts, bruises, cigarette burns and multiple stab wounds.
According to some observers, Egypt has proved an uncooperative partner in investigating Regeni’s murder. Alessandra Ballerini, the Regini family’s lawyer, claimed in a meeting with the European Parliament’s subcommittee on human rights on Wednesday that the majority of the documents the Egyptian authorities have handed over to Italy have been forgeries.
Ballerini further claimed that the Egyptian authorities have attempted to weave false narratives to cover up how Regeni was killed.
Early narratives implied that, because he was found shirtless, Regeni frequented a gay sex club, Ballerini said, then implied that he was killed in a car accident, then denied that he was tortured, then suggested he had been kidnapped, despite the fact that there was no demand for a ransom.