The 'Truth for Guilio Regeni' campaign was founded in Regeni's native Italy Comune di Milano

Representatives from CUSU and members of the ‘Truth for Giulio’ organisation held an open meeting on Monday to update students on the campaign as the anniversary of Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni’s death approaches.

Regeni was killed last year whilst researching trade unions in Egypt. He disappeared on 25th January 2016 and his body was found just over a week later on 3rd February. 

Progress has been slow in official investigations into Regeni’s death. Initially, Egyptian police suggested that Regeni had been killed in a road accident; however, a post-mortem report revealed evidence of extensive torture.

One year on, no arrests have been made in connection with the PhD student’s disappearance, and it has taken until this week for Egypt to give experts from Germany and Italy permission to examine CCTV footage.

On Monday, Egyptian state broadcaster ERTU aired footage of Regeni speaking to Mohamed Abdallah, the head of a trade union in Egypt. Mr Abdallah, who recorded the video shortly before Regeni’s death, confirmed again to Reuters that he had later reported Regeni to the authorities, believing him to be a spy. Egyptian police confirmed in September that they had investigated Regeni, something that they had previously denied.

The investigation into Regeni’s death is ongoing, and the Egyptian government continues to deny any involvement in the student’s death.

Throughout January and February, a number of events will be held to commemorate Regeni’s life and raise awareness of human rights violations in Egypt. On Wednesday, the anniversary of Regeni’s disappearance, campaigners took part in a cycle ride protest, mirroring a similar event in the Italian’s home town of Fiumicello, and in the evening students gathered for a vigil at Wolfson Court, part of Girton College, where Regeni was a student.

Next week, at their weekly market stall, Amnesty International will be offering cards for people to sign, to be presented to the Egyptian embassy in May.

A collaborative campaign between Amnesty and the University and College Union (UCU), which passed a resolution at its national conference to work with Amnesty on this issue, is due to be launched on 13th February. The following day, Antonio Marchesi, president of Amnesty Italy, will give a public lecture at King’s College, in association with the university’s Centre for Governance and Human Rights.

This term, demonstrations will be held throughout the country, with student protests arranged in Manchester, Warwick, London, and Leeds.

Giulio Regeni - timeline of events  
6th-7th January 2016 Regeni speaks to trade unionist Mohamed Abdallah, who later reports Regeni to the police, believing him to be a spy
25th January 2016 Regeni last seen by friends
3rd February 2016 Body discovered in ditch on the Cairo-Alexandria highway
24th February 2016 Amnesty International Italy launches the 'Truth for Giulio Regeni' campaign
1st March 2016 Egyptian forensic official confirms an autopsy has revealed evidence of torture
24th March 2016 Four men alleged to have been responsible for kidnapping Regeni are killed in  a shootout with police
8th April 2016 Italy recalls its ambassador to Egypt, dissatisfied by progress in the investigation
21st April 2016 Reuters reports that Egyptian officials had arrested Regeni prior to his death
3rd May 2016 Memos leak from the Egyptian Interior Ministry suggesting a gag order be imposed on the investigation
17th June 2016 Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mario Giro, accuses the University of Cambridge of refusing to cooperate in the investigation
10th September 2016 Egyptian police admit to investigating Regeni prior to his disappearance
22nd January 2017 Egypt consents to allowing Italian and German experts to examine CCTV footage relating to Regeni's murder
24th January 2017 Egyptian state broadcaster ERTU airs footage of the meeting between Regeni and Abdallah

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, who has long argued for further investigation into Regeni’s death, has also written to the Foreign Secretary, calling upon him to “provide some real assurance that he is doing everything he can to reveal the truth about this sickening crime.”

Speaking at the open meeting on Monday, Anne Alexander, UCU representative and co-editor of Middle East Solidarity magazine called on attendees to mobilise “a lively and broad-based campaign” to use the anniversary of Regeni’s death to bring his story back into the public conscience.

CUSU Women’s Officer Audrey Sebatindra pledged at the meeting to “do all she can to build momentum for the campaign”.

Friends used the meeting to criticise the University’s response to Regeni’s death, saying that it “hasn’t really been satisfactory”. The University’s official statement was singled out for particular criticism - one colleague suggested that the statement was updated too slowly, leading to people being updated by media outlets before official channels. Another described the statement as “light”, and closer to a message of bereavement than recognition of “a human rights violation against one of their students.”