32 months on from brutal killing, Giulio Regeni’s parents want justice

The parents of murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni have delivered an open letter to President Sergio Mattarella urging the Italian state to pursue justice for their son.

32 months on from brutal killing, Giulio Regeni's parents want justice
A protestor hold up a placard calling for truth for Giulio Regeni in an Amnesty International demonstration on July 13, 2016. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto /AFP

The letter, which was delivered to Mattarella at his official residence on Wednesday morning and was published in La Repubblica, asks the president to “give voice to our request and restore trust and honor to all our fellow citizens.”

Regeni was 28 years old and conducting research into the rise of labor unions in the wake of the Arab Spring for his doctorate at Cambridge University when his body was found dumped by a Cairo roadside with clear signs of torture in February 2016.

No one has been tried for the murder, but in August 2017 the New York Times published its own piece of longform investigative journalism looking into the killing, which it took the rare step of translating into Italian.

The article reported that in the weeks following the murder, senior officials in the United States government said they had seen “incontrovertible evidence” that Regeni was abducted and killed by Egyptian security officials – a conclusion which they shared with the Italian government without sharing the evidence itself, in order to protect their source.

READ ALSO: Enraged Italy demands probe into student's Egypt slaying

Seven Italian investigators who went to Cairo to assist with the Egyptian investigations reportedly found that witnesses had been coached and surveillance footage from the metro stop near Regeni’s apartment had been deleted.

The NYT article points out that Italy could technically press charges in an Italian court against the small group of Egyptian security officials believed to be responsible for the killing, but notes that this would produce little in the way of results as the chances of Egypt extraditing the officials for trial are close to zero.

In their letter to Mattarella, Regeni’s parents say, “The search for truth for Giulio would be a commitment to the protection of human rights and exemplify the seriousness and intransigence of our country and the solidity of its democratic values.”

“Nobody can give us back Giulio but we can not allow our dignity as Italians to be offended with lies and silence,” they add.

A follow up event in memory of Regeni was held at Teatro India in Rome on Wednesday evening.



Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.