Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Giulio Regeni's disappearance's first anniversary : The curious case of the leaked video

Wednesday marked the first anniversary of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni's disappearance in Egypt as his murder is still officially a mystery that affected the Egyptian-Italian relations.
The Italians and Regeni's family commemorated the sad anniversary with protests demanding the truth in the murder of that 28-years student in several Italian cities as well cities around the globe.

In Cairo, things were different as we suddenly found the Egyptian State TV broadcasting last Monday an alleged "exclusive" video clip showing late Regeni speaking Arabic in January 2016 with someone.

The video was aired suddenly in less than 24 hours after Egypt's General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek approved a request from Rome to allow Italian experts to take part in the retrieval of CCTV footage showing Regeni before his disappearance on 25 January 2016.

Regeni's dead body resurfaced later on 3 February with horrifying traces of torture. His death is still mystery as the Egyptian security authorities deny involvement from any kind in his disappearance of murder.

The 3.46 minutes clip was aired at about 10 AM Cairo Local Time showing Regeni speaking with a man, reportedly the head of West Cairo street vendors union Mohamed Abdullah.

An enhanced screen capture from the video 
Mohamed Abdullah is the man who reported Giulio Regeni to Egyptian security authority on suspicion that he were a spy. According to the official Egyptian security's version of the story, the security authorities followed Regeni for 3 days and then suspended the operation.

In the video, Abdullah asked for money personally to save "his daughter and wife" as Regeni was speaking about a grant presented by some British Foundation to the Street vendors Union.

"It is not my money, I am an academic and I can not submit an application to the British foundation saying that I want the money for personal reasons," Regeni told Abdullah.

In the video clip, Regeni tells the Unionists how the money comes from the British foundation to the "Egyptian Center". It is unclear which center he was speaking about in the video.

Abdullah again raises again the matter of money asking how to get it and Regeni says that "the matter is not in his hand" and there were proposals from all over the world including Egypt submitted to get the LE 10,000 grant in March. The proposal is actually how the Union was going to use the grant.
This is what was shown and said in the edited video in nutshell.
It is unclear in what context the Egyptian State TV aired that leaked video.
In some irony, most people watched it online and did not watch it live in the news bulletin to know how it was introduced !! Nobody watches the State TV anymore.

Euronews : The clip

Ironically that edited video does not incriminate Regeni in any way because it is known that he was interested in helping the Streets Vendors Union and wanted them to join some contest to get a grant from some British foundation.
The PhD student then backed off and complained to one of his friends in Italy about that greedy unionist.
Within very few hours, a very interesting reaction came from Rome.
Italian major news websites and newspapers published online a different longer version of the clip included the edited missing parts of the Egyptian state TV's clip in a different correct timeline.

The 4.29 minutes clip carried the logo of Italy's Polizia di Stato "State police".
In that longer version, we see Abdullah moving around in some local market mostly in Cairo before sitting down at some local café and meeting with Regeni.
We see clearly Abdullah was pushing Regeni to take money from him for personal use but the Italian young man was clear in his words. " I am an academic." He said repeating that the money was not his and he got no power in that "British foundation".

Later, he made it also clear that the grant money would not be used for "political projects".
"Money for political projects is a hard thing now," Giulio Regeni told Abdullah when he asked if they "street vendors" were going to use the grant in projects like kiosks or so-called "Freedom project".
The Italian newspapers like Corriere Della Sera reported more info on how and when the video clip was recorded. It was recorded on 6 January 2016. Already from the conversation, we could hear Regeni saying that 25 January was still three weeks away.

Mohamed Abdullah recorded that conversation using a compact camera given to him by Egyptian security so accordingly, that happened after reporting Regeni to security authorities earlier.
The newspapers revealed that the British Foundation Giulio was speaking about was Antipode foundation.

The original video was reportedly handed to Italian investigators from Cairo on 6 December 2016 and it was originally 1 hour and 55 minutes including more than 40 minutes of Regeni's interview.
Only 4.29 minutes made it to the public and those minutes related to the money and Abdullah's cheap attempts to make Regeni's look suspicious in front of security forces.
There has bee no official reaction from both countries regarding that video clip.
What is even more interesting is that the clip has disappeared from the Egyptian State TV's News Sector's official website and official YouTube channel. It does not exist anymore. I only found it in Euronews.

As we are living the time of "alternative truth" as Kellyanne Conway said from couple days ago, the Pro-regime supporters are saying that the video is evidence that Regeni is a spy !!!
I do not know why I feel that we may hear about Abdullah more often.

Needless to say, to hear Giulio Regeni speaking so innocently two weeks prior his disappearance, torture and death saddened me.
This young should not have met his grim fate in Egypt in that age.
Again I do not understand why the video of Regeni was leaked in that way in Cairo as well why it disappeared.
It is another riddle added to Regeni's mystery in Egypt.
Regeni's family
Giulio Regeni's family in Italy demand the truth 

1 comment:

  1. Terrible blot on Egypt tourism. Poor guy, he just celebrated his 28th birthday in Cairo, and probably was excited to be there. Just horrible. His birthday was 10 days before he was kidnapped and tortured. *Deb


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