Giulio Regeni murder: Parents call for EU sanctions on Egypt

Online campaign poster after Giulio Regeni went missing in Cairo Image copyright AP
Image caption This poster was put online in the days after Mr Regeni went missing

The parents of Cambridge University student Giulio Regeni who was murdered in Cairo, have questioned whether the European Union should continue to regard Egypt as "a friend".

The body of Italian Giulio Regeni, which showed signs of torture, was found dumped near Cairo on 3 February.

His parents addressed a human rights committee in Brussels on Wednesday.

They called for sanctions against Egypt which they said was not co-operating fully to solve their son's murder.

The 28-year-old student had been researching trade unions, a politically sensitive subject in Egypt, when he went missing in Cairo on 25 January.

His body was found by a roadside nine days later.

'Torture and assassination'

No-one has been arrested over Mr Regeni's death, although in March Egyptian authorities claimed to have found a criminal gang responsible for his kidnapping and murder.

All the gang members were killed in a shoot-out, they said.

The claims have been branded "implausible" by academics who have criticised the Egyptian authorities.

Image copyright Ministry of Information, Egypt
Image caption Egypt's interior ministry said police found a bag belonging to the student, containing identity documents, in a flat connected to a gang

His parents Paola and Claudio Regeni have joined calls for the Egyptian authorities to co-operate more fully with the Italian government.

In March the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Egypt to provide the Italian authorities with information to "enable a swift, transparent and impartial joint investigation".

It also condemned the "torture and assassination under suspicious circumstances of EU citizen Giulio Regeni".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Giulio Regeni's mother Paola questioned whether Europe should continue to consider Egypt "a friend"

At a human rights sub-committee meeting on Wednesday the Regeni family called for Europe to impose sanctions on Egypt.

Labour MP for Cambridge Daniel Zeichner, a supporter of the "justice for Giulio" campaign, met the student's parents in Brussels and offered his condolences from the people of Cambridge, where Giulio had lived and studied for 10 years.

He described the couple as inspiring, and said: "Giulio's father Claudio outlined a range of measures he would like to see adopted, including embassies offering sanctuary to witnesses who are currently afraid to speak out."

Mr Zeichner said he would raise this issue with the UK Foreign Office.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Vigils have been held around the world by supporters demanding justice for the murdered student

"The sense I got was that Britain could be applying more pressure. There have been plenty of warm words but no action and I don't think Egypt will react to warm words.

"Giulio Regeni's parents do not believe the Egyptian authorities are doing all they can or that they are co-operating," he said.

"But I am left with Giulio's mother's question to both the Italian and British governments over whether Egypt can continue to be treated as a friend - 'Do friends kill each other's children?'"

In April the Foreign Office condemned "the brutal manner of [Giulio Regeni's] killing" and admitted it was "disappointed by the limited progress made in the case".

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