EgyptWide for Human Rights announces the publication of the analytical report titled Official Violators: Egypt-Italy Police Cooperation in Human Rights Violations.
The report explores the evolution of Egyptian-Italian police cooperation from 2010 to 2020, a decade that saw Egypt sink into increasingly paranoid and repressive authoritarianism as state security apparatuses and the army extended their control over each and every aspect of the country’s life.
While repressive practices such as arbitrary arrests and criminalization of opposition, torture, extrajudicial executions, trials of civilians in military courts, and censorship of any form of dissent and protest were spreading in Egypt, several European countries, including Italy, were designing a new architecture for Euro-Mediterranean relations in the name of "stabilization," "security," and "control of migration flows."
The research conducted by EgyptWide analyzed data presented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior on bilateral initiatives involving Italian police forces and their Egyptian counterparts. This data analysis shows a progressive proliferation of initiatives aimed at strengthening the operational capabilities of the Egyptian police and security apparatuses, which include the supply of police and paramilitary equipment free of charge and training courses (including ITEPA programs). These initiatives were developed along with numerous collaborations, exchanges of experts, conferences and conventions, and bilateral summits between police authorities.
Police cooperation has seen no setbacks since 2010, not even in the face of the Italian ambassador's withdrawal in 2016 under pressure from civil society following the murder of researcher Giulio Regeni.
Between 2016 and 2019, hundreds of Egyptian police and special departments officers benefited from training and equipment provided by the Italian State Police, the Carabinieri military corps, and the N.O.C.S. Counterterrorism Units.
Throughout the decade examined, Italy has actively cooperated with Egypt, thus helping to strengthen the power and legitimacy of the very state apparatuses to which the United Nations bodies for the protection and promotion of human rights impute the suppression of the rule of law and democratic freedoms in Egypt.
The report Official Violators denounces Italy’s responsibilities in the deterioration of human rights in Egypt by describing and analyzing the nature, content, and evolution of defense and security cooperation between Italy and Egypt, both bilaterally and multilaterally (as the research took into account and analyzed several initiatives promoted by the European Union or by consortia bringing together European and North African countries, such as the CT-MENA program, Operation Themis, and courses within the framework of EuroMed Police).
In conclusion, some recommendations are presented to the Italian Parliament and the Ministry of the Interior to ensure greater transparency and respect for human rights in the area of police cooperation.