People hold an Italian flag with photos of Giulio Regeni, during a demonstration in front of the Egypt's embassy in Rome, on February 25, 2016
© AFP
People hold an Italian flag with photos of Giulio Regeni, during a demonstration in front of the Egypt's embassy in Rome, on February 25, 2016
Last updated: March 31, 2016

Translations: What Egyptian media says about the murder of Giulio Regeni

Banner Icon The MENA Newsroom Our MENA Newsroom translator looks at reactions among Egyptian commentators concerning the brutal killing of Mr. Regeni.

There is no conclusive evidence as to who killed Italian student Giulio Regeni, but both Western media and some Egyptian media figures seem to have made up their minds, albeit in different ways. The tortured and brutalized body of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni was found in a ditch in the outskirts of Cairo on February 3, 2016, and there has been widespread speculation in European and American media that Egyptian security forces were responsible. While living in Egypt, Regeni had written articles critical of the Egyptian government. Human rights organizations have pointed out that the treatment suffered by the victim carries the hallmarks of Egyptian security forces.

In response, Egyptian media has pushed back. According to several commentators, Regeni’s murder was, alternatively, an attempt by unnamed foreign powers to sabotage Egypt’s trade relations, a consequence of Regeni’s romantic relationships, or a conspiracy hatched by the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the days after the discovery of the crime, several Egyptian voices urged the government to solve the murder, lest Egypt’s record of police abuse lead observers to jump to conclusions. It may now be too late; in early March, the European parliament passed a resolution condemning the murder of Regeni as representative of a pattern of human rights abuses in Egypt and calling for a suspension of security cooperation.

TRANSLATIONS:

"The Semi-official Narrative in the Killing of Regeni"

By: Imaad al-Deen Hussein in Al-Sharouq (Egypt), March 19, 2016

Three weeks ago I met an important official and I asked him, "What is your response to what was raised by Western media, that the Egyptian security forces were involved in the murder of the Italian doctoral researcher Regeni who disappeared on the 25th of last January and whose body was found a week later?"

(…)

The official replied that, "The Italian Minister of Development was visiting Cairo, and with her were the heads of 60 major Italian companies. All of them were interested in investing in Egypt, and the discussion with them was extremely positive.”

"Suddenly," the official added, "appears the body of Regeni and upon it were the traces of savage torture in a manner that makes everyone sympathize with the young man. And then, (…) leaks appear through the British and American newspapers that don’t harbor any friendliness towards the Egyptian government, and all of them hint at the involvement of the Egyptian security forces in the incident.”

The official added, "If we assumed that the Egyptian authorities killed him, would they do it in the way it was carried out, as if they wanted to scandalize themselves?"

(…)

In the opinion of the official, the story, in all its detail, points to the presence of someone trying to implicate us by any means in a major crisis with Italy and with all of Europe, and to make it appear as if Egypt has become a jungle in which anything can happen, as President al-Sisi declared recently.

(…)

This official does not rule out the involvement of international and regional foreign intelligence agencies.

(…)

The new development is that there are leaks from inside the investigative agencies saying that what killed Regeni was not his involvement in politics, but his divergent relations with women. The Italian security agencies have begun to understand this.

(…)

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"Killing of Giulio Regeni in Egyptian-European Relations"

By: Ibrahim Awad, Professor of Political Science at the American University of Cairo in Al-Sharouq (Egypt), February 13, 2016

(…)

The murder of Giulio Regeni drew the attention of academic circles around the world, and especially those concerned with studies of our Arab world and the Middle East generally. American and British institutions of Middle East studies and thousands of academics sent different letters to the President of the Republic expressing their shock, pointing to the occurrence of the crime in a general atmosphere of restriction of academic freedoms. They demand a speedy investigation into the circumstances of the murder of the young researcher and revealing of the culprits.

(…)

We must rise to the responsibility towards our country and be aware of the conditions in which the crime occurred. We must understand the reactions and the anger in Italy and in academic circles around the world. Rejecting the doubts which they express is of no use, for it will not dissuade them from expressing what is stirring within them. The doubts find their logic in regrettable, if not disgraceful, explanations of the murder of the Italian researcher issued by the concerned (Egyptian) agencies. What was first said in explanation of his demise was that it was a result of a traffic accident.

And even after the news was broadcast that his torture – ugly torture – resulted in his murder, these agencies issued claims that supported their suspicion that his tragedy was explained by a robbery attempt. (…) Then the suggestion circulated that the killer was homosexual, though he was not, so that the responsibility for his death would fall back on him, and so he would be “stained” in a conservative society like our Egyptian society.

It was not lost on foreign observers or on Egyptians that the same agencies that explained the torture and the killing as a traffic accident or a theft accused Khalid Sa’eed six years ago of killing himself before the truth emerged that he was killed at the hands of two agents of public order. And they (the observers) do not forget that last year security forces accused a colleague of Sheemaa’ al-Sabaagh of killing her, before the truth emerged that she was killed by gunfire from one of those who are supposed to protect citizens and their belongings.

Following these events it is not possible for observers to avoid the comparison between accusing Sheemaa’ al-Sabaagh’s colleague, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the suspicion placed in recent days on a number of friends of the Italian victim and putting them under surveillance because “they cannot specify where they were on January 25”. Such declarations must be rejected unequivocally, because, in the way they were rushed, they arouse suspicion of those who issue them and call to mind strongly the conditions of the environment in which the crime occurred.
 

"Italian Newspaper: The Muslim Brotherhood behind the Murder of Regeni in Cairo to Embarrass the Regime"

By: Fatima Shoqi in Al-Youm Al-Saba‘, February 17, 2016

The Italian Newspaper Panorama revealed that there is a number of possible scenarios to the murder of the Italian youth Giulio Regeni in Egypt, but the most realistic is a conspiracy against the President ‘Abd al-Fateh al-Sisi. The newspaper verified in a report today, Wednesday, that the process of torturing Regeni was carried out by secret agents, mostly likely belonging to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.  

The newspaper noted numerous question marks concerning the timing in which the body was found coinciding with the visit of a large Italian economic delegation headed by the Minister of Development. This means that there is someone who wants to strike al-Sisi and cast a negative light on his regime and accuse him of not being fit for the Presidency.

The newspaper says that the arrangement of the incident was to implode the signed agreement between Egypt and the Italian company Eni to develop the Zahr gas field. The field is the biggest in the entire country. This is considered revenge against al-Sisi. The newspaper pointed out that the killer of Regeni is trying, in one way or another, to embarrass al-Sisi and the policy of rapprochement that he is pursuing between Rome and Cairo, and that this is a hypothesis that cannot be excluded.

Eliot Benman
Eliot worked for several years in Syria and Egypt as a freelance journalist, covering business affairs and developmental issues. He holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Near East Languages and Cultures from Indiana University and a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. He currently resides in the US, where he works in urban redevelopment and avidly follows the ever-lively Arabic language media.
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