Regeni timeline: 5 years of searching for the truth

Five years have passed since the murder of the Italian doctoral student, Giulio Regeni, during which investigations took place in Cairo and Rome regarding the circumstances of his murder and those responsible for the crime. Investigations ended with the closure of the file in Cairo and Rome’s announcement that it was accusing four Egyptian officers of kidnapping, torturing, and killing Regeni.

The following is a timeline of the most prominent events that occurred in the University of Cambridge student’s case, which led to tension in relations between Egypt and Italy. Rome summoned its ambassador, then returned him as relations gradually improved.

January 2016: Regeni researches labour movements in Egypt.

January 25, 2016: He mysteriously disappeared while on his way to the subway in the west of Cairo.

February 3, 2016: Regeni’s body, half naked, with visible signs of torture, was found in a pit on the side of the Cairo-Alexandria desert road in the 6th of October suburb, west of Cairo.

February 4, 2016: Egyptian authorities said that the Italian student was in a traffic accident. His mother, Paula Regeni, said that she only recognised her son through the tip of his nose due to the fact that his body had been so badly mutilated.

February 8, 2016: Following the transfer of his body to Rome, an Italian autopsy showed that he was killed after suffering a strong blow to the bottom of his skull and that he had sustained several fractures all over his body. Italy warned Egypt that it will not allow the circumstances of Regeni’s death to be hidden. In contrast, the Egyptian Interior Ministry has rejected any involvement of the security services in the incident.

March 10, 2016: The European parliament adopts a resolution calling on the Egyptian authorities to provide Italy with all documents and information necessary to conduct a joint, prompt, transparent, and impartial investigation.

March 14, 2016: The Italian public prosecutor visits Egypt and offers to provide assistance and information to the Egyptian side in the investigations.

March 24, 2016: The Egyptian authorities announced the discovery of Regeni’s belongings, who they said was killed by a criminal gang.

March 26,2016: Italian authorities questioned this hypothesis, asking Egyptian investigators to continue searching for the culprits.

March 30, 2016: In the face of the Italian rejection of their story, the Egyptian judiciary announced the formation of a team to complete the investigations.

April 8, 2016: Italy announced the recall of its ambassador to Egypt, Maurizio Massari, in protest at the lack of progress in the investigation and as a result of disputes between the judicial authorities in the two countries. Rome accused Cairo of not providing it with data on the circumstances of Regeni’s disappearance. The Egyptian authorities announced that the CCTV recordings at the place where Regeni disappeared were automatically erased for “technical reasons.”

June 29, 2016: The Italian parliament stops supplying Egypt with spare war parts to protest Regeni’s killing.

September 9, 2016: The Egyptian public prosecutor announced that the police had conducted “investigations that lasted for three days” about his activities a few days before his disappearance, and “the results of which” resulted in these activities not being of interest to national security. “

January 22, 2017: Experts from Italy were allowed to check metro records of the case of the disappearance and death of Regeni.

January 23, 2017: Egyptian TV showed a video of Regeni as he agreed with the representative of the Street Sellers Syndicate to collect information for him about street vendors and the union. The union’s representative requested money from Regeni, which the Italian researcher refused.

January 25, 2017: The Italian public prosecutor says Regeni was killed because of his research into independent trade unions in Egypt.

May 17, 2017: The Egyptian prosecution announced in a joint statement that it had delivered to Italy some of the documents requested by the Italian prosecution, but the statement did not indicate the nature or content of these documents.

September 13, 2017: The Italian ambassador returns to Egypt, more than 20 months after he was summoned.

January 24, 2018: The Egyptian public prosecutor denied what was published about the Egyptian authorities, that they had arrested Regeni before his death.

June 28, 2018: The Egyptian public prosecution said that examining the camera recordings of subway stations showed several gaps in the retrieved content.

November 29, 2018: The Italian parliament suspended relations with its Egyptian counterpart over the Regeni case, which the Egyptian parliament considered “anticipating events and jumping on the results of the investigations.”

November 30, 2018: The Italian foreign minister summoned the Egyptian ambassador and urged him to respect Egypt’s pledge to move swiftly to prosecute those responsible for Regeni’s murder.

December 4, 2018: For the first time, Italian authorities spoke of five Egyptian security personnel suspected of being involved in kidnapping Regeni.

May 14, 2019: Regeni’s parents demand that Egypt hand over five Egyptian police officers to Italy for trial.

December 18, 2019: Italian prosecutors accuse the Egyptian security services of fabricating stories to pervert the investigation. Two Italian prosecutors said that Regeni was caught in a “spider web” woven by Egyptian security services in the weeks before his death.

January 15, 2020: The Egyptian public prosecutor orders the formation of a new investigation team for the murder of Regeni after meeting with Italian investigators.

June 12, 2020: Rome gives the green light to sell Egypt two frigates, despite the Regeni affair.

June 18, 2020: Italy renewed its request to Egypt for quick answers and clarifications about Regeni’s killing. The Italian Prime Minister expressed his responsibility for the “failure” to obtain Egypt’s answers to uncover the circumstances of the crime.

July 2, 2020: Regeni’s parents consider that withdrawing the Italian ambassador from Cairo remains the only way forward to achieve justice and preserve Italy and its rulers’ dignity.

November 20, 2020: The prime minister of Italy confirmed that the Rome prosecutor is determined to issue an indictment against five security men in Egypt.

November 30, 2020: Egypt announces the closure of the case. The Italian prosecutor said that it suspects five individuals belonging to the Egyptian security services of the involvement in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Regeni. Regeni’s family described the decision as “the latest slap in the face” by the Egyptian authorities and appealed to Italy to recall its ambassador.

December 10, 2020: Rome officially indicts murder, torture, and kidnapping charges against four Egyptian officers in the killing of Regeni and gives the accused 20 days to respond to the charges against them.