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Home > News > 2018 > February > Italian trade union researcher killed in Egypt

Italian trade union researcher killed in Egypt

regeni_1.jpgNew evidence suggests an Italian graduate student found dead in Egypt may have been killed due to his research into Egyptian trade unions.

Roman prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone, leading an investigation into the 2016 murder of promising Cambridge student Giulio Regeni, alleges Regeni was killed due to the nature of his research and was subject to government surveillance in the lead up to his death.

The topic of Regeni’s PhD research, trade unions, is politically sensitive in Egypt where the government has recently cracked down on protests and where activists allege they regularly endure breaches of their human rights.

In the first public comments made in relation to the joint Italian and Egyptian investigation into Regeni’s death, Pignatone said the motive for the murder can be easily traced to Regeni’s research activities during his months in Cairo.

“What also has become clear is that Giulio had for months attracted the attention of Egypt’s state apparatus, which continued in an increasingly pressing way until 25 Jan [2016],” Pignatone said, highlighting the date of Regeni’s disappearance.

Regeni’s body was found one week after his disappearance. An autopsy later confirmed Regeni was subjected to days of torture prior to his death.

The Egyptian government, led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has denied its authorities had any involvement in Mr Regeni’s murder, but confirmed Regeni was being monitored.


IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary/Treasurer and Convenor of our union's International Committee Paul Giles said the revelation Giulio Regeni may have been murdered due to his links to trade unions was deeply disturbing.

“The freedom of association is a deeply fundamental human right and to hear that freedom could be violated so abhorrently in this case is distressing to any union member.”

"This case highlights the incredible fight and struggle many of our fellow unionists in other parts of the world face just to ensure workers have a voice.

“Giulio Regeni was a promising student on the path to making a significant contribution as an academic through his PhD research.

“The only hope now is that the ongoing investigation will provide some semblance of justice by holding those responsible for his death to account.”

No arrests have been made over Giulio Regeni’s murder. The investigation into his death continues.

Read more about this story at The New York Times.

Images: Facebook, Verità per Giulio Regeni

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.