The video posted here from the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” is worth of attention for any person committed in science worldwide. Giulio Regeni’s mother explains at the Italian Senate some points regarding the torture of her son. The video has English subtitles.
For someone who is not Italian reader/speaker and is eager in following the issue, some news follow. Some Egyptian officers have been sent to Italy in order to give to Italian police new evidence. The last one collected by Egyptian police in Egypt in March were manifestly fabricated and therefore offensive for any Italian citizen. Namely, Egyptian police murdered some ordinary criminals showing personal Regeni’s items supposedly found there. A satchel was not his and some of the items were tentatively alleging to homosexuality (it is considered relevant in Egypt, what a fascinating country…).
At this moment it looks that Egypt is recognizing that its intelligence started to shadow Regeni since the beginning of his last stay and now they maintain that they never said it was a ordinary criminality affair (how things can change rapidly in a case! It looks a CSI tv series episode). The reasons of the shadowing are obscure since it is very clear that the Cambridge PhD student was not a spy nor a real political threat whatsoever (he was in touch with people recognized by Egyptian police as dangerous, but he was not organizing anything, just attending some meetings). Any researcher in social sciences may be seen as a strange animal, as one tries just to understand things instead of taking part in it. A big effort without getting any advantage. For many persons this is stupid, I see it. On the contrary, the step from not seeing the point in an disinterested study and the necessity to torture this person goes beyond my skills. Perhaps some intelligence force wanted to communicate messages with this over reaction, or they wanted to pour out their frustrations in not being completely able to patrol the Country. These are just my free guesses (message to the few visits I got from Egypt and other similar countries: yep, in Europe we can guess anything so far).
For what I may have understood in the last days from a Western citizen living for years in Egypt, currently Al Sisi’s regime is much better than Muslim Brotherhood regime. During the latter regime, people may knock at the door of regular people asking things like “why we don’t see you regularly in the Mosque, bro?” Incursions like these are not pious denominational policies, nor annoying invitation to join some pseudo-religious movement. They are totalitarian acts that may end in a very brutal way or being the warning that you live in a place where brutal ends may occur anytime for a minimal spread from “normality”.
However today, it is said to me, people come from places like Qatar with just overnight bags full of currency. The kind of leverage by out that people from the other part of the Red Sea may do is up to our imagination. Yet, professional militia from other countries with no uniform may not anymore patrol regular streets like Morsi’s times. However, beyond the regular touristic streets, life is still far from being normal, and any teacher is probably filed somewhere. If you go in touristic places life is not so pleasant anyway, sure. Al-Sisi’s grip is not totally accomplished, though his is a stiff hand. Any realpolitik would suggest to see in Al-Sisi the best of the possible partners at the moment, but so far it is hard to follow this principle. (The very last news is that Egyptian police is postponing a further visit as they, I think, don’t like tight arguments from Italian side).
In further few words, what a person might get from Italian written newspapers looks to me slightly more updated and accurate than what a person may get from UK based newspapers (“The Guardian” is doing a good job by the way). Considering my generally low esteem of Italian mass media system, I expected a little less from Italy – which showed reasonable foreign policy (something forgotten during Berlusconi’s era) – and a little more from some UK mass media since we are talking about a PhD from UK, albeit with a different passport. For instance, “The Times Higher Education” doesn’t publish anything since mid February for what I may see.
For what it may be useful, Regeni’s mother affirmed that if Egyptian police will not provide sound evidence and effective collaboration will show publicly the images of the tortured face of Giulio Regeni: a face his mother was able to recognize only from the point of the nose and that was unnaturally colorful. She said that she saw all the evil of the world concentrated in that face. So far, it looks that this respectful definition didn’t work totally to obtain real collaboration from the “blessed from the Nile country”.