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Published On: Sat, Jan 27th, 2018

Regeni murdered for researching Egyptian trade unions: Claims Italian prosecutor

Fahwad Al-Khadoumi (nsnbc) : Italian top-prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone claimed on Thursday that Italian PhD researcher Giulio Regeni whose mutilated body was found in Cairo two years ago was murdered because of his research into Egypt’s independent labor unions. Others suggest Regeni might have had ties to intelligence communities vie the American University in Cairo.

Regeni Passport_Cairo_Egyptian Interio Ministry_Mar 2016Pignatone wrote an open letter published in several Italian newspaper, claiming that “The motive [of Regeni’s murder] can be easily traced to Giulio’s research activities during his months in Cairo.”

The Italian prosecutor added: “What also has become clear is that Giulio had for months attracted the attention of Egypt’s state apparatus, which continued in an increasingly pressing way until 25 Jan.”  On January 25 2016, the PhD student disappeared; His body was found nine days later on the outskirts of Cairo, bearing unmistakable signs of torture.

International organizations including the ILO have repeatedly underpinned the poor conditions trade unions and trade union activists suffer in Egypt.

However, the Italian top-prosecutor’s open letter does not provide any other than purely speculative and vaguely circumstantial evidence for the case that Giulio Regeni was tortured and murdered because he was researching the unions.

It might be worth mentioning that the timing of the release of Pignatone’s open letter coincided with attempts to use the UN Security Council as a forum to debate the abuse of Egypt’s judiciary in highly controversial trials against journalists in the country.

Considering that many would perceive Pignatone’s open letter as politically-motivated it is worth noting that an at the very least as valid, if not more valid case, also based on circumstantial evidence, could be made for Regeni’s links to foreign intelligence networks in Cairo via the American University in Cairo.

Regeni was a Cambridge PhD student at Girton College in the Political and International Department. He was a visiting scholar for the American University in Cairo. Regeni went reportedly missing as he was heading from Giza’s Behoos metro station to Bab-el-Louk in downtown. It is at this point in time uncertain whether or not Giulio Regeni has had ties to a foreign intelligence service or to any of the outlawed organizations in Egypt.

Giulio Regeni’s affiliation with the American University in Cairo has prompted questions about whether Regeni was operating in Egypt for a foreign intelligence service. The American University is known as a hub for people with ties to intelligence services.

Among its alumni are, among others, CIA Director John Brennan and New York Times “columnist” Thomas Friedman. Well-informed sources as well as Egyptian authorities have also noted that Regeni’s work in Egypt may have brought him in touch with potentially dangerous circles with links to terrorist organizations. Regeni was officially studying labor rights  and organizations in Egypt. Several human rights organizations have suggested that Regeni may have been tortured and killed by Egyptian security force.

Thus far neither the Egyptian nor the Italian side has afforded nsnbc international (or other media) access to independently verifiable evidence that would allow responsible media to support their respective cases or to reject them.

F/AK – nsnbc 27.01.2018

About the Author

- Fahwad al-Khadoumi is a Palestinian, born in Syria in 1956. He began as editorial assistant in 2013 and became co-editor at nsnbc international in 2014. His editorial signature in as co-editor in nsnbc is F/AK - nsnbc He can be reached by e-mail at

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