The death, apparently under torture, of 28-year-old Italian Ph.D. candidate Giulio Regeni in Egypt continues to send shock waves in Italy, which is one of Egypt's major trading partners, and also throughout the academic and research communities. As any have noted, Regeni's death, widely assumed to be at the hands of the police or security services, is only unusual in that it involves a foreigner living in Egypt; Egyptians disappear every day. But the killing is a reminder of the increasing threat to academic freedom. This piece by Khaled Fahmy is important.
From the beginning, the Egyptian government has seemed unable to keep its story straight, with a police statement saying he died in a traffic accident despite investigators indicated signs of beatings and torture.. Egypt needs to cooperate fully with Italy and explain what happened. Assuming state institutions were involved, someone should be held accountable.