ISA statement concerning the murder of Giulio Regeni

February 15, 2016

It is with deep sorrow that we heard of the tragic murder of our young colleague Giulio Regeni. Giulio, who was conducting field research on independent unions in Egypt for his doctoral work at the University of Cambridge, disappeared on January 25th, 2016 in the midst of a security campaign which resulted in mass arbitrary arrests. His body was found a week later with brutal signs of torture.

Threats to academics and to social movement scholars in particular have alarmingly been on the rise. In 2015, social scientists working on social movements in different countries received death threats in many countries and various have been assassinated, notably in Colombia. In the first weeks of 2016, the Turkish state started a trial against dozens of ISA members and other social scientists for denouncing the government’s violence against the Kurdish people, journalists and human right activists and for their demands for democracy and the respect of Human Rights.

We demand an independent and impartial investigation about the torture and murder of our colleague Giulio Regeni in Cairo, as well as for all the Egyptians who were victims of torture and forced disappearance.

The torture and assassination of Giulio Regeni in Cairo, the wave of trials against Turkish colleagues and the death threats against social scientists who conduct research on social movements in different countries demand an urgent reaction by the academic community, by democratic governments everywhere and by international institutions to guarantee a safe environment for social scientists and not to support regimes responsible of exactions against human rights.

We call on sociologists and social scientists to continue working towards producing a better understanding of our world. We call on universities, research institutions and international scholar networks to mobilize to demand truth and justice for Giulio Regeni, the liberation of our Turkish colleagues and to show that an international community of scholars is truly committed to defending academic freedom.