In Protest against Regeni’s Murder, the Italian Senate Halts Warplane Supplies to Egypt

Two months after recalling the Italian ambassador from Egypt in light of the unresolved murder of Giulio Regeni, the Italian Senate halts warplanes’ spare parts supplies to Egypt. 

On Wednesday, the Italian Senate voted to halt supplies to Egypt of spare parts for F16 warplanes in protest against the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni earlier this year, reported Reuters.

In fact, the Italian Senate vote marked the first commercial steps taken against Cairo. After a strong debate, the upper house of parliament passed the so-called Regeni amendment by 159 to 55.

Nicola Latorre, a senator from the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, said the vote was aimed at putting pressure on Egypt to help “the truth emerges more quickly” over the killing.

However, the center-right lawmakers warned that it would hurt relations with “an ally in the fight against terrorism.”They believe that Egypt is a strategic ally in the” War on Terrorism” especially in Libya which is the main gate for illegal immigrants to Europe.

Moreover, ISIS militants,who have expanded their activities in Libya, can easily diffuse through the uncontrolled Libyan forces due to the absence of strong national security forces after the Libyan Revolution against al-Qaddafi.

Since Regeni’s murder, Italy has repeatedly expressed  its dissent from the Egyptian authorities which have been accused of not cooperating to find those responsible for Regeni’s brutal death.

The Egyptian authorities have narrated several stories about the Italian student murder. They previously claimed he was killed in a traffic accident. Then, they claimed he was kidnapped and murdered by a gang specialized in killing foreigners. Four suspected men were shot dead by the Egyptian security forces.

Giulio Regeni, the Ph.D. student who was doing postgraduate research into Egyptian trade unions, disappeared on the fifth anniversary of January Revolution.The Cambridge University student’s body was found brutally tortured in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, on February 3, 2016. His mother said that she could only recognize him by his nose.

Few weeks before his death, Regeni wrote about the Egyptian Union’s reality (Regeni’s case study) after the military coup in 2013. The young student wrote that “the Egyptian unions’ defiance of the state of emergency and the regime’s appeal for stability and social order – justified by the ‘war on terror’ – signifies… a bold questioning of the underlying rhetoric the regime uses to justify its own existence and its repression of civil society”.

Moreover, Regeni’s last anonymous report for the Italian newspaper IL Manifesto has been republished by the British socialist magazine Red Pepper. Regeni wrote about the Centre for the Trade Union and Workers’ Services in Egypt, “a beacon of independent Egyptian trade unionists,” he called it – and of how al-Sisi’s attack on trade union freedoms had caused “widespread discontent among workers.

He also wrote about unreported industrial strikes in Egypt. He said that “in an authoritarian and repressive context under General Sisi”, these events would “break the wall of fear…”

Torture found on Regeni’s body showed the signs of Egypt’s security forces which are known for using violence against detainees to gain information and confessions.