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Italian parliament launches Giulio Regeni scholarship for Egyptian students

Regeni's killing has poisoned Egypt's close relations with Italy [LightRocket]

Date of publication: 20 January, 2017

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A new scholarship for Egyptian students will be launched as a tribute to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose tortured body was found outside Cairo last year.

The Italian parliament is launching a new educational scholarship in the name of late student Giulio Regeni, who was tortured to death in Egypt last year, Italian media reported.

The winner of the scholarship will study for two years at the United World College (UWC) of the Adriatic in Italy, where Regeni studied before he went to college, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Initiated by Federico Torracchi and Lorenzo Bartolucci, Regeni's former classmates in the same school, the scholarship targets 16-year-old Egyptian students.

"We want to remind people who Giulio was, and what he did before his death," said Bartolucci, a Harvard graduate and now an analyst for a software company in Silicon Valley.

"We came up with the idea during the funeral, but we waited for the family's consent," said Torracchi, now a consultant for the World Bank.

The scholarship "sends a message that counters hatred", he added.

"Giulio wanted to improve the lives of people, and the scholarship will change the life of a teenager who has to deal with the Egyptian reality".

According to the Italian newspaper, the scholarship fund is worth EUR 43,000 ($45,887), but Regeni's friends are considering raising the fund to more than one million dollars to ensure its sustainability.

The scholarship comes almost one year after Regeni's body was found bearing torture marks in a roadside ditch on Cairo-Alexandria road.

We want to remind people who Giulio was, and what he did before his death.
- Lorenzo Bartolucci

The 28-year-old Cambridge University PhD student had disappeared on 25 January in central Cairo, as police were out in force in anticipation of protests commemorating the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

He had been researching street vendor trade unions, an especially sensitive political issue in Egypt, with successive governments fearing strikes and unrest.

Egypt has forcefully denied that its police were involved in his abduction.

Regeni's killing has poisoned Egypt's close relations with Italy. In April, Rome recalled its ambassador to Cairo for consultations to protest what it said was the slow pace of the investigation and the perceived lack of cooperation.

Rights groups including Amnesty International have said Regeni was among hundreds of people who have disappeared in Egypt over the past two years.

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