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Below is the text of BRISMES' recent letter to President al-Sisi:

 

His Excellency Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

President, Arab Republic of Egypt

‘Abdin Palace

Cairo, Egypt

6th February 2016

Your Excellency

I am writing on behalf of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) to express our deep concern at the news of the unexplained death of Giulio Regeni, an Italian student and BRISMES member studying for a PhD at the University of Cambridge (UK), who disappeared in Cairo on 25 January and whose body was found on a road outside Cairo on 3 February.

 

The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) was founded in 1973 to bring together teachers, researchers, students, diplomats, journalists and others who deal professionally with the Middle East. Membership is open to all, regardless of nationality, and we maintain strong and expanding links with both institutions and individual scholars in the Middle East, including many in Egypt itself. We greatly value these links, which we regard as making a valuable contribution to the understanding of the region generally, as well as to relations between scholars within the region and those outside it.

 

Giulio Regeni, a PhD student at the Department of Politics and International Studies (Polis) at the University of Cambridge, UK, was a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC). According to reports in the newspapers and other media, he left his apartment at 8 pm on 25 January with the intention of taking the metro from Duqqi to Bab al-Louq to meet a friend, but never arrived. We understand that, although initial statements from your government attributed Giulio Regeni’s death to a robbery gone awry or a traffic accident, State Prosecutor Ahmed Nagi has now admitted that there were signs of torture on the body, including cigarette burns and knife wounds.

 

Although we accept that the precise circumstances of Giulio Regeni’s death have not yet been established, the incident has reinforced a growing impression among BRISMES members and others that the Egyptian authorities are currently failing to accord the necessary respect for the principles of academic freedom and legitimate academic activity that are demanded both by Egyptian law and by the various international treaties to which your government is a signatory.

 

We accordingly seek from the Egyptian government an assurance that the circumstances of Giulio Regeni’s death will as a matter of urgency be investigated in a full and impartial manner and that those responsible will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of Egyptian law.

We await your response,

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Frances Guy,

BRISMES President