UK Foreign Office calls for “full and transparent investigation” of Regeni murder

Elsa Maishman 12 April 2016

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has released a statement about the murder of Girton student Giulio Regeni, prompted by a Government petition which has reached 10,000 signatures. 

A spokesperson said: "We are very concerned by reports that Mr Regeni had been subjected to torture.

"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. Our thoughts are with Mr Regeni's friends and family at this difficult time."

Giulio Regeni was a PhD student at Girton, conducting research into labour union movements in Egypt, a politically sensitive topic. Having gone missing on 25 January, his body was found 10 days later in a ditch in Cairo, showing signs of brutal torture.

The Italian government recently withdrew its ambassador to Egypt over the allegations, while the European Parliament has voted to condemn Egypt's human rights record.

Dr Anne Alexander, a colleague of Regeni, told the BBC that: "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."

A friend of Regeni told the BBC that his friends considered the statement to be "bland", and expected the government to follow with "something fresh and much, much better.”

Jack May, a third-year Caius student commented that: "It's notable how quiet the UK Foreign Office has been so far. This is their first major intervention and it's weeks after most of the main stuff happened. Italy – and the Italian press – has been very forceful. You'd think that the UK would have taken that as a lead to push hard."