Cambridge tutors ‘refuse to cooperate’ with Regeni probe

Giulio Regeni

 ROME – Cambridge dons who supervised the research of Giulio Regeni, the 28 year old Italian student at Girton College, Cambridge, brutally tortured and murdered by Egyptian security services while conducting postgraduate research in Cairo, have refused to collaborate with Italian officials conducting the investigation into his vicious killing, judicial sources said Tuesday.

 Judge Sergio Colaiocco along with members of Sco and Ros elite police investigation units, who are leading the investigation into the murder, went to Cambridge last weekend to conduct talks with university staff who taught Regeni, officials report. The Italian magistrate made the trip to the university town in England in the hope of enlightenment after speaking to the tutors of the student but was sorely disappointed, the sources said.

Maha Abdelrahman, Giulio Regeni’s research supervisor and personal tutor, was allegedly advised not to respond to the questions raised by the Italian investigators. There is speculation in the Italian media that the tutors linked to Regeni’s research project had not offered adequate guidance, support or prevision to the student regarding his studies surrounding this controversial topic in the hostile territory of Cairo.

The death of the postgraduate student, originally from Friuli, which caused such uproar on an international level in the immediate aftermath of the incident in January of this year, is still surrounded by a cloud of ambiguity.  The Italian authorities want to pursue the case further to come to a definitive conclusion to bring closure to the family and friends of the victim.

Directly following the incident, Regeni’s Cambridge professors published an open letter in which they described their concern about the student’s disappearance in “the midst of a security campaign which has resulted in mass arbitrary arrests, a dramatic increase in reports of torture within police stations, and other cases of disappearances,” yet since they have fallen unbendingly silent.

The delegates from Italy had the opportunity to speak to friends and acquaintances of Regeni in Cambridge but the lack of cooperation from university’s academic personnel is complicating the situation.

 Italy withdrew its ambassador from Cairo in symbolic protest at the failure of Egyptian authorities to find the security officals responsible for the brutal slaying. But the Rome government has cravenly stopped short of jeopardising relations with the Egyptian military dictatorship for fear that Italy's state-run ENI energy concern will lose lucrative contracts in Egypt, diplomatic sources say.