Italian magistrates pose questions for Regeni supervisor
ROME - Previously undisclosed documents on Giulio Regeni, the University of Cambridge student murdered in Cairo last year, have been seen by La Repubblica, and will air in a documentary in Cambridge Thursday evening. The film was to reveal unedited Skype conversations and emails from Regeni’s tutor, Professor Maha Mahfouz Adbelrahman, found on Regeni’s computer, and the documents are said to show Regeni’s fears on the direction his research was taking.
Regeni embarked on a master's programme in Development Studies at Cambridge in 2011. He was working on a research paper on independent trade unions in Cairo, and flew to Egypt in 2015 to gather relevant materials. On Jan. 25 2016 Regeni went missing, never showing up to an appointment with his friend. He was not found until Feb. 3, where his body lay next to a highway in Cairo naked from the waist down. An Egyptian army flag was found alongside his body. After he was returned to Italy, Roman doctors found evidence that he was tortured for days before his murder, and an investigation was launched.
The Roman Magistrate issued an European Investigation Order on Oct. 9, asking to formally question his tutor Dr Abdelrahman, and to see details of her phone record, as so far she has refused to answer any questions on the case. This follows a year and a half of Italian authorities requesting permission from British judicial authorities to question the tutor.
La Repubblica stated in its front page story headlined "The Lies of Cambridge," that it holds the 12-page letters rogatory, and reveals that the questions posed to the tutor in the Order include asking for the names of the people who signed off on the topic of the research, and for those were meant to follow Regeni in his research in Cairo. It has been disclosed that Dr Abdelrahman was in the habit of sending students to Egypt, and that previous researchers may have also experienced traumatizing situations while there. Phone calls have been found from Regeni in which he calls his parents, worried about his safety in Cairo.
A spokesperson for the University of Cambridge said: “We will not respond to unhelpful and sensationalist speculations. Dr Maha Abdelrahman has repeatedly expressed her willingness to cooperate fully with Italian prosecutors. We have still not received the formal request for her testimony, and look forward to receiving one as quickly as possible, as we have repeatedly urged. It would be wholly inappropriate, and in breach of process, for Dr Abdulrahman to talk to the media before she has given her testimony to Italian authorities.”
Documents held by La Repubblica show Regeni giving to his tutor 10 reports containing his research on independent trade unions in Cairo on Jan. 7, 2016. The same day, Mohammed Abdallah, the then leader of a trade union of street traders who also worked as a police informer, filmed the Cambridge student and took images of him. Some 18 days later, Regeni disappeared.
Regeni was evidently kidnapped, tortured and then murdered by Egyptian security services. He told friends that another Cambridge student had done similar research in Cairo the year before him but had been expelled and required counselling subsequently for the traumatic experience.