The vigil was held outside St Mary's ChurchRomilly Norfolk for Varsity

A vigil was held yesterday evening for Giulio Regeni, an Italian PhD student from Girton who was abducted and murdered in Egypt eight years ago.

Regeni was abducted off the street in Cairo and tortured to death whilst conducting fieldwork for his PhD in January 2016. Cambridge University Amnesty organised the vigil to mark the eight years since his disappearance.

A crowd of around thirty students, academics and local activists including local MP, Daniel Zeichner, gathered outside St Mary’s Church at 6pm last night (25/01).

The vigil was part of the Justice for Giulio campaign, which seeks justice against the perpetrators of Regeni’s murder, alleged to be the Egyptian National Security Forces.

Daniel Zeichner MP spoke at the vigil alongside Anoushka Kale, a representative of Cambridge University Amnesty. Extracts were read in both English and Italian from the book that Regeni’s parents wrote about their struggle for justice.

At 6:41pm, a minute’s silence was held. 6:41pm was the timestamp of Regini’s last text message – and the last confirmation of his life. In the message, he expressed concerns about the political situation in Egypt, stating: “The dictatorship is back [...] this state of affairs is very precarious.”

Guilo Regeni’s body was found on the 3rd February 2016 and an autoposy confirmed Regini was subjected to nine days of torture prior to his death. The Egyptian secret services are widely suspected to be behind the murder, with four senior members of the Egyptian police soon to be on trial in Rome.

Daniel Zeichner MP, who attended the vigil, told Varsity: “I think most people are pretty sure that the security forces were involved”Romilly Norfolk for Varsity

Originally from Italy, Regeni studied at Leeds and then Cambridge (2012-2016) for his Masters in Development Studies and his PhD on independent trade unions. Dr Glen Ranwala, who taught Regeni, told Varsity: “he was so full of potential, full of ideas”. Dr Ranwala recounted their “last conversation” before Regeni left for his fieldwork was “about ideas of what he would do if he got a job as an academic”.


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Daniel Zeichner MP praised Cambridge University Amnesty for the event. He told Varsity he has attended the annual vigil “pretty much every year” and recounted “going to Brussels” to meet Regeni’s parents “fairly early on in the campaign”. Ziechner also mentioned his attendance at the memorial held at Girton, Regini’s former college, earlier in the day. 

The Egyptian government continues to deny involvement in Regeni’s death, but Zeichner said: “I think most people are pretty sure that the security forces were involved”. Four senior members of the Egyptian National Security Force are due to stand trial in Rome this year on 20 February.