CFJ: Trial of Regeni killers a milestone against impunity
As the trial of the suspected killers of the Italian student Giulio Regeni continues, torture and other forms of abuses against detainees in Egypt remain common.
The Committee for Justice (CFJ) said today that Egypt’s decision to close invetigations into Regeni’s murder on November 30, 2020, has not succeeded in blurring the features of that case. On the contrary, it shed light on deaths from torture in the country, which is well-documented by local and international rights groups, including the Justice Watch Archive.
“Egypt’s closure of investigations in the Regeni case was an attempt to divert attention from the case. But it failed, and even opened the doors for escalation by Italy, which has now referred the entire case to trial. The decision has also corroborated our documentation of torture in prisons and detention centers in Egypt,” Ahmed Mefreh, CFJ Executive Director said.
CFJ reports since 2017 are full of hundreds of victims who died inside detention centers in Egypt. In 2017, during the first six months of it, 81 cases of extrajudicial killings were documented.
In 2018, 245 cases of extrajudicial killings and deaths in custody were documented, and 10 cases were verified (5 cases of extrajudicial killings and 5 deaths in detention). In 2019, 95 deaths were documented as follows: (11 cases of suicide, 75 cases of denial of health care, 9 cases of death due to torture).
In 2020, 101 deaths were documented, and the facts were distributed in total between death as a result of deprivation of health care (89 deaths), death as a result of poor conditions of detention (6 deaths), torture (five deaths), and finally a case of suicide. Ten deaths inside the detention facility were verified, all as a result of denial of health care.
Finally, in the first six months of 2021, 28 deaths were documented, and one of them was verified.
“Our Justice Watch Archive is full of comprehensive documentation of hundreds of victims inside detention centers and prisons in Egypt, about 1,047 deaths during detention, from more than 280 places of detention, and the information is available to everyone to view, to see for ourselves the horrific result of Egypt’s systematic violations of rights,” Mefreh added.
CFJ stated that while a new session of the trial of Regeni’s killers takes place on October 14, the international community is required to deliver a message to Egypt and pressure it in various ways to hand over its four security officials accused in the case, in accordance with the rules and covenants of international law signed by Egypt.
The organization also called on Egyptian authorities to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to activate the constitutional provisions criminalizing torture crimes, and to stop the officers and supervisors of torture and enforced disappearances, and hold them accountable.
The trial is a global practical confirmation that impunity for crimes of torture and other grave violations of human rights in Egypt will not pass without accountability, and that it is a serious attempt to ensure justice for thousands of Egyptians who have been victims of grave violations committed by the authorities in Egypt.