International fear for Regeni's lawyer detained in Egypt

Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy. The photo expressing solidarity has been circulating on Twitter

ROME - Multiple governments released a statement expressing their fear for the safety of human rights lawyer Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, who has been working on the case of murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni.

 Italy, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have released a joint statement saying that “we are concerned at the detention conditions that Metwally Hegazy is reportedly enduring, and continue to call for transparency on prison conditions in Egypt. We call on the Egyptian authorities to ensure the freedom of civil society and the protection from torture that is enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution.”

 In protest, Egypt has summoned the ambassadors of the countries who issued the statement. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has referred to the statement as "unacceptable," stating that it was an outright intervention into Egyptian judicial internal affairs. 

 Metwally Hegazy, an expert on forced disappearances, has been detained in Cairo since Sep. 10, arrested while on his way to a UN Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances meeting. Members of Metwally's group have said that he was not heard from for three days after being taken by security staff at Cairo airport on Sep. 10. Metwally Hegazy is still being detained in Cairo, on charges of spreading false news and joining an illegal group, according to judicial sources who spoke to Reuters. The sources have also claimed that his pre-trial detention was in accordance with Egyptian law. 

 Human rights activists have explained that it is common for Egyptian security forces to kidnap government opponents and keep them in secret jails without charge, as reported by the GuardianThe family of Giulio Regeni, a Cambridge University student murdered while working on a project on trade unions in Cairo, has expressed their concern for the lawyer’s safety.