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.
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.