By Aswat Masriya
Cairo - The European Parliament called on Egyptian authorities Thursday to carry out "a swift, independent, impartial and effective investigation" into the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose body was found in a Cairo ditch.
A resolution was approved with an overwhelming majority of votes in today's session regarding the human rights situation in Egypt, with particular emphasis on the case of Regeni.
Regeni, a 28-year-old Italian Ph.D. student in Cambridge University, disappeared on Jan. 25, marking the fifth anniversary of the 2011 Uprising that led Mubarak to step down after his 30-year rule. Ten days after his disappearance, his deceased body was found alongside Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, bearing signs of torture.
A number of media reports accused Egyptian security forces of torturing the Italian student to death, which the Egyptian interior ministry has denied. Recently conducted investigation attributing his murder to criminal or revenge motives.
The European Parliament expressed its outrage regarding the "abduction" and "savage torture" of Regini, stressing that the case is not an isolated incident as it comes in the context of "a dramatic increase in reports of torture in police detention stations and other cases of death in custody and enforced disappearances across Egypt under the current leadership."
Furthermore, the European Parliament called for the "suspension of any form of security cooperation and assistance with Egyptian authorities, as long as its security apparatus continues to fuel radicalism and violent extremism through its systematic violations committed in full-impunity." This was followed by a call to the High Representative to report on the current state of military and security cooperation by EU member states with Egypt.
The resolution continued to shed light on other forms of human rights violations in Egypt including the crackdown against civil society organisations, the continued police and military brutality, widespread torture in detention facilities, arbitrary travel bans, enforced disappearances and others.
Being an important strategic partner for the European Union (EU), Egypt's human rights record has been frequently put under the spotlight.
"MEPs often use specific cases to call attention to the general situation," an article published on the European Parliament's website read.
"The case of Giulio Regeni is just another cruel and gruesome example of the current worrisome situation of human rights in Egypt," commented Elene Valenciano, chair of the human rights subcommittee.
The European Parliament also referred to the recent threat to shutdown El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, and called for the unconditional withdrawal of the administrative closure.
It further alluded to the controversial protest law and called for its repeal.
The law was issued by interim president Adly Mansour in November 2013. The law has long been the epicenter of wide criticism by domestic and international human rights organisations which say it violates international standards for peaceful protests. Thousands accused of protest charges have been detained.
In its 2016 World Report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) recounted security force abuses, which included "dozens of enforced disappearances, often targeting political activists", scores of Egyptians banned from travel and the regular use of torture by police in their investigations.