While the tortures suffered by Giulio Regeni emerge, Europe continues to roll out red carpets to Egypt

While the tortures suffered by Giulio Regeni emerge, Europe continues to roll out red carpets to Egypt

Conte's courtesy phone calls, Macron's Legion of Honor, the silences of Brussels: while more and more details emerge about the torture of Giulio Regeni and the detention of Patrick Zaki is renewed, Europe continues its good relations with Egypt

photo: Alisdare Hickson / Flickr It hurts a lot to read what Giulio Regeni underwent in his last days of life. The Rome prosecutor's office closed the investigation into his killing, outlining a picture of torture and violence carried out by the Egyptian National Security between the end of January and the beginning of February 2016, for a total of nine days. "Permanent loss of several organs", "acute physical suffering", "numerous traumatic injuries at the level of the head, face, cervical dorsal tract and lower limbs", "shocks caused by blunt instruments", "repeated projection mechanisms of the body against rigid and inelastic surfaces ”, are some of the terrible passages that appear in the reconstruction of the judges, who have indicted four Egyptian agents for crimes such as multiple kidnapping, aggravated personal injury and complicity in aggravated murder.

#Egitto Yesterday the prosecutor of Rome closed the investigation on #GiulioRegeni. According to the reconstruction, he suffered days of torture and ill-treatment before he died from his injuries

- Amnesty Italia (@amnestyitalia) December 11, 2020

But it also hurts a lot to see how all this remains largely muted in Italian and European politics. It was the same parents of Giulio Regeni who once again pointed the finger against the government, in particular in the figures of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. “What are you doing for the truth? ”, The cry to break an increasingly deafening silence. While with the passing of the years the details on the murder of the Friulian researcher emerge and the misleadings by the Egyptian government add up, while in parallel we witness the shame of the precautionary life sentence without motivation for the student of the University of Bologna Patrick Zaki, diplomatic and commercial relations between Italy and Egypt continue undisturbed, interrupted only occasionally by some fa├žade declarations.

The last phone call between Conte and the Egyptian president Al-Sisi was at the end of November and if on the one hand there was the usual request for collaboration on the Italian side on the delivery of Regeni's assassins to justice, on the other hand, there was no mention of Zaki and, above all, the desire to continue and strengthen bilateral relations in the commercial and military fields was reaffirmed. Something that had already been seen in the summer, when industrial and judicial collaboration were put on the same level in an interview between the two presidents, as if the life of an Italian citizen was worth as much as a package of foreign direct investments.

But Italy is not the only problem. Of course, as a country directly affected by the two terrible stories of Giulio Regeni and Patrick Zaki, one would expect a clear stance that has never existed, but not that things are better elsewhere. Our silence on the respective events went hand in hand with the silence of the rest of the European Union, the cradle of human rights and democracy only on paper. The approach has always been the same: Egypt is a great trading partner and this has never allowed us to raise our voices too much. The President of the European Council Charles Michel did not mention human rights in his recent visit to Cairo, the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli instead made statements on the subject without however being followed by concrete measures, while the leaders of the main European countries they continue to do business and maintain friendly relations with the Al-Sisi regime as if nothing had happened.

The last chapter in this sense was the red carpet with which the French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron lavishly welcomed the Egyptian President Paris, complete with the conferral of the Legion of Honor in a meeting in which he spoke anything but human rights. There would be the reasons for a diplomatic incident with Italy, a great French partner who must attend all this in the same hours in which the news about the torture of Giulio Regeni and the renewal of the detention of Patrick Zaki are spread. Once again, however, silence on both sides reigned, complete with an attempt to cover up, a symptom that there is the awareness of being doing something not to be proud of, but also that there is no intention to correct the shot. .

While Italy and Europe point the finger at Hungary by Viktor Orban and invoke respect for the rule of law as a necessary condition for the disbursement of EU funding, on what happens beyond of its continental borders both eyes are closed, putting commercial interests before human rights. A festival of hypocrisy in which all the protagonists, European institutions and national governments, are being played on the skin of two young people whose justice is considered too unprofitable. As long as Italian and European diplomacy with Egypt is that of red carpets, courtesy phone calls and millionaire trade agreements, turning the Regeni and Zaki cases will be impossible.

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