Four years later, the Giulio Regeni case remains a trauma in Italy

Along the Via Salaria in Rome, the wall design was not to the taste of the neighboring Egyptian embassy, ​​and it has disappeared. Giulio Regeni held in his arms another student arrested also in Egypt, Patrick George Zaki, with this promise: “Everything will be fine this time”. Since the body of the academic Giulio Regeni was found in February 2016, tortured and lifeless, the wave of indignation against the Egyptian authorities, who never wanted to shed light on the affair, has continued. never dried up.

The fight of the parents of Giulio Regeni killed in Egypt

Also, when Patrick George Zaki, enrolled at the University of Bologna, was arrested in turn in February, Italy resumed weekly protests to demand his release. The two students have in common to work on themes that disturb the regime: Giulio Regeni on trade unionism in Egypt, and Patrick George Zaki on human rights.

Italians were deeply marked

Florinda attended Petrarca High School in Trieste, in the northeast of the country, the same as Giulio Regeni. She remembers the emotion when her body was found in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo in 2016. “The students and teachers were crying, it was very heavy She remembers.

A yellow banner had been installed on the pediment of the town hall of Trieste. Even today, there are around a hundred banners all over the country. “No one was prepared for the scale taken by this affair”, tells a former of the French embassy in Rome. “It could have remained a news item but the Italians were deeply marked. “

→ MAINTENANCE. After the decoration of Sissi, Corrado Augias returns his Legion of Honor: “I had no other choice”

In the peninsula, the decoration of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi by Emmanuel Macron on December 7 from the Legion of Honor has therefore not gone unnoticed. Journalist Corrado Augias and leftist intellectuals such as Giovanna Melandri returned their medals.

“Between Rome and Cairo, it is a conflict which lasts”, underlines Marc Lazar, specialist in Italy. “Whatever the political stripe of the four successive governments, all have demanded an explanation from the Egyptian authorities. ” In recent weeks, the idea was circulating to recall the ambassador to Egypt in retaliation for the silence of the regime, especially as the prosecutor in charge of the case announced on December 10 that he had gathered enough evidence to indict, in absentia, four Egyptian officials.

Still prosperous trade

Almost five years later, the pressure is not weakening and those close to Giulio Regeni even hope to give the campaign a new boost in January. Last week, the famous journalist Roberto Saviano again challenged the authorities on the set of one of the most watched shows on Italian television, “Che tempo che fa”: “Al-Sisi maintains blackmail on this story. It does not only concern a suffering family but the whole country, the whole democracy ”. The next day, the presenter of the 8 pm newspaper of Rai Uno wore the yellow bracelet on her wrist, symbol of the “Verità per Giulio Regeni” movement.

→ EXPLANATION. With President al-Sisi, the Legion of Honor in the service of diplomacy

The emotion, however, did not prevent trade with Egypt from flourishing. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte approved, in 2020, the sale of two Fincantieri frigates. “This is a textbook case which illustrates the difficult reconciliation between justified indignation on the one hand, and business on the other”, recognizes Marc Lazar. “Realpolitik prevails. ”


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