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Controversy over Italian student's murder threatens Egypt's tourism sector

Ambiguity concerning the investigations into the murder of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni in Egypt will further harm the country's already declining tourism sector.
An Egyptian activist holds a poster calling for justice to be done in the case of the recently murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni during a demonstration protesting the government's decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, April 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTX2A55T

On April 2, the Italian Association for Responsible Tourism (AITR) issued a statement noting that all its travel packages to Egypt would be suspended “until the tragic events of [Giulio] Regeni’s murder are revealed.” Regeni, an Italian graduate student conducting research in Egypt, went missing on the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution. His body was found Feb. 3 on the outskirts of Cairo with clear signs of torture.

The decision of AITR, a nongovernmental association, comes amid ambiguity concerning investigations into the murder and a lack of confidence on the part of the Italian authorities as well as Regeni’s family about the integrity of the Egyptian investigation. Regeni’s mother has criticized the Egyptian authorities for a lack of transparency concerning the investigation and said she was prepared to publish a photo of his battered body if authorities do not share their findings. On April 8, Italy recalled its ambassador to Egypt due to a lack of progress in the murder investigation.

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