Cambridge Chancellor decries Regeni 'witch hunt'
KONRAD VAN HALEWYN|
18 January 2018
ROME - The Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Toope, has written an open letter denouncing what he calls the “seemingly concerted efforts to implicate [Dr Maha Abdelrahman] directly in Giulio Regeni’s death.” Regeni was a student at the university who was tortured and killed in Cairo while conducting academic research.
Italian media has widely been critical of what they see as Dr Abdelrahman’s role in the background to his death with many thinking that, as the tutor overseeing the research, she should have known better while one Italian former general went so far as to claim the tutor was part of a dastardly plot by British Intelligence.
Dr Toope said: “it has been especially troubling to note that, in the absence of apparent progress in investigations into Giulio’s death, attention has been turned to his doctoral supervisor, Dr Maha Abdelrahman – an honourable and distinguished scholar.”
Dr Toope expressed frustration with the investigation in which he says “the confidentiality of the legal process has been blatantly ignored” and has condemned the media for "a lack of understanding of scholarly aims and methods. It shows a failure to understand the intellectual relationship between a PhD student and his or her supervisor.”
The Vice-Chancellor’s letter came after Italian authorities visited Dr Abdelrahman last week, which he noted was “the third time she has answered their questions – and voluntarily handed over material requested by them.”
He underlined that Regeni was “tortured and killed while pursuing wholly legitimate academic research” and that “he was using standard academic methods to study trade unions in Egypt.”
He ended his letter by saying that “the University of Cambridge is committed to ensuring that the reputation and wellbeing of its scholars are always safeguarded,” and that “justice will not be served by undermining the very thing that drove Giulio in his brief but inspiring academic career – the search for truth."