Cambridgeshire

Giulio Regeni: Government call for full investigation of student murder

Online campaign poster after Giulio Regeni went missing in Cairo Image copyright AP
Image caption This poster was put online in the days after Mr Regeni went missing

The UK government has called for a "full and transparent investigation" into the murder of a Cambridge University student in Egypt.

The body of Italian Giulio Regeni, which showed signs of torture, was found dumped near Cairo on 3 February.

A petition demanding the UK government intervene has now reached 10,000 signatures, meaning it must respond.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed the case had been raised with the Egyptian authorities.

The 28-year-old student had been researching trade unions, a politically sensitive subject in Egypt, when he went missing in Cairo on 25 January.

His body was found at a roadside nine days later.

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No-one has been arrested over Mr Regeni's death although last month Egyptian authorities claimed to have found a criminal gang responsible for his kidnapping and murder. All the gang members were killed in a shoot-out, they said.

Image copyright Ministry of Information, Egypt
Image caption Egypt's interior ministry said police found a bag belonging to the student, containing identity documents, in a flat connected to a gang

The claim was branded "implausible and risible" by a number of academics who have been pressing the UK government to intervene in the case.

A petition demanding clarification on "what action it will take to ensure a credible investigation into Giulio's murder" has now been signed by more than 10,500 people meaning the government must now provide an official response.

'Bland' statement

Dr Anne Alexander, a colleague of Mr Regeni from Cambridge University, said: "It should not take 10,000 signatures on a petition to make the government speak out and add its voice to those who are calling for an independent investigation into his brutal murder.

"We hear constantly about how UK businesses can benefit from the close ties between the British and Egyptian governments. Yet when a PhD student from Cambridge is tortured and killed, ministers seem reluctant to say anything critical of the Egyptian authorities."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Vigils have been held around the world by supporters demanding justice for the murdered student

There has been no official response to the petition from the UK government, however, as The Times (paywall) reported, the FCO has released a statement.

"We are very concerned by reports that Mr Regeni had been subjected to torture," a department spokesman said.

"We have raised his case with the Egyptian authorities in both London and Cairo and underlined the need for a full and transparent investigation. We remain in contact with both the Italian and Egyptian authorities."

A friend of Mr Regeni told the BBC the student's supporters and friends considered the statement "bland".

They fully expected the government to follow this with "something fresh and much, much better," she said.

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