Amnesty International stages flash mob to raise awareness about Egypt’s forcible disappearances
Amnesty International activists perform a flash mob on July 13, 2016, in Rome's Pantheon square to remember the victims of torture and enforced disappearances in Egypt. (AFP/File)
Amnesty International staged a flash mob demonstration in Rome on Wednesday, the same day of the release of its report on "hundreds" of enforced disappearances in Egypt.
A group of people stood at the Pantheon in Rome; male demonstrators topless and females wearing black tops and holding banners with tied hands.
One banner said "Truth for Giulio Regeni" and another said "Mazen Mohamed Abdallah, 14 years. Disappeared for one week and raped" in Italian.
The young Italian researcher, Regeni, went missing in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2016, which marked the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
Ten days later, Regeni's body was found, bearing signs of torture, in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo.
A number of media reports accused Egyptian security forces of torturing the Italian student to death, which the Egyptian interior ministry has denied.
The reasons behind Regeni's death are still unknown, and Italy has complained on several occasions about the pace of the investigation into the case and Egypt's purported lack of cooperation.
Most recently, Italy decided to halt warplane supplies to Egypt in a commercial measure against Cairo in protest to the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni earlier this year.
Egypt commented a day later saying that Italy's decision is "inconsistent" with the level of "cooperation" between authorities in both countries who are working to unveil the circumstances of Regeni's death.
Based on interviews with former detainees, families of detainees, lawyers and others, Amnesty's report published on Wednesday indicated that enforced disappearances had spiked since the appointment of Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, with an average of three or four people reported disappeared every day.
Amnesty International Italy spokesperson Riccardo Noury said, "We are asking the Egyptian government to start an independent commission of inquiry to establish what happens to the people who disappeared. We are asking the prosecutor to stop being just an instrument of the government and to investigate every allegation of torture during disappearances."
Egyptian non-governmental organisations and rights groups indicated there had been "at least several hundred cases" of enforced disappearances since the beginning of 2015, Amnesty reported.
By Nourhan Fahmy