Posts Tagged With: justice

Petition for Maha Abderrahman (November, 2017)

Cambridge, 10th November 2017

We, the undersigned, categorically reject the malicious and totally unfounded allegations made against Dr Maha Abdelrahman in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on 2 November 2017. Dr Abdelrahman, an internationally highly-regarded scholar at Cambridge University, was the supervisor of Giulio Regeni, an Italian PhD student, who was conducting research on Egyptian independent trade unions when he was abducted, tortured and murdered in early 2016. There is overwhelming evidence that strongly implicates the Egyptian security forces in Giulio’s murder. Indeed, Declan Walsh, the Cairo correspondent of the New York Times, wrote in August 2017 in a detailed account that the US had ‘incontrovertible evidence of official Egyptian responsibility’, but was unable to make the evidence public without compromising their source. Despite a cumulative body of facts pointing clearly to the Egyptian police, La Repubblica attempts to apportion some of the blame for Giulio’s murder to Dr Abdelrahman. The article lists the following questions that the Italian prosecutor wants to put to Dr Abdelrahman:

1. Who chose the specific theme of Giulio’s research? 2. Who chose the tutor to supervise Giulio’s fieldwork in Cairo? 3. Who chose the participatory research study method that Giulio pursued? 4. Who devised the research questions that were posed to the street vendors whom Giulio was interviewing? 5. Did Giulio submit the results of his research to Dr. Abdelrahman?

While we understand that some of these questions could be relevant to the Italian investigation, we find La Repubblica’s tendentious summary and analysis of them to be deliberately misleading. For example, La Repubblica alleges that Dr Abdelrahman ‘commissioned’ Giulio to work on a topic that she knew was dangerous and that he was reluctant to pursue. Furthermore, that she was the one who chose Giulio’s research topic, research methods, research subjects and research questions for him. We find these allegations absurd. They betray a fundamental ignorance of internationally-recognised procedures in applying for and undertaking a PhD. Academic supervisors do not choose their PhD students; rather, it is the students who choose them. PhD supervisors do not impose their research agendas on unsuspecting students; the students, usually, work on a particular research area for some time before undertaking a PhD and then look for a supervisor in that area. In Giulio’s case, he had been interested in independent trade unions for years and had already worked in Egypt before he even approached Dr Abdelrahman to be his supervisor. On the issue of the participatory research method employed by Giulio, any social scientist could tell you that it would be the method of choice in investigating contemporary issues. These and other allegations in the article are characterised by wilful ignorance, misrepresentation and distortion as well as pure invention and basic lies. Moreover, there is no way that Dr Abdelrahman, or anyone else, could have anticipated what happened to her student. The most egregious outcome that any foreign researchers in Egypt could have feared at the time of Giulio’s disappearance was the revoking of their research permit and deportation. Relying on hindsight, La Repubblica is insinuating that Giulio’s tragedy could have been foreseen. This is unequivocally not true. A final important point on which La Repubblica is incorrect. Dr Abdelrahman has NOT refused to talk to the Italian authorities. At Giulio’s funeral in February 2016, she was interviewed for one and a half hours by the Italian prosecutor. On 15 June 2016, she answered in writing many supplementary questions posed by the Italian prosecutor, and indicated that she was happy to answer any further questions. There was no further communication with the Italian authorities until recently when they put in the request referred to in La Repubblica’s article. In response, Dr Abdelrahman willingly agreed to be interviewed again. Giulio was not the author of his own tragedy. Nor was Dr Abelrahman responsible for his death in any way, shape or form. The responsibility for the abduction, torture and death of this bright Cambridge student falls squarely on the Egyptian regime. And it behoves serious investigative journalists to shine their light where the real darkness lies.

Cambridge signatories

Mahvish Ahmad, PhD student, University of Cambridge

Dr. Arthur Asseraf, Lecturer, History Faculty, University of Cambridge

Dr. Duncan Bell, Reader, Department of Politics and International Studies, (POLIS) University of Cambridge

Professor Bill Burgwinkle, Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge

Dr. Adam Branch, Director, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge

Dr. Devon Curtis, Senior Lecturer, POLIS, University of Cambridge

Dr. Manali Desai, Lecturer, Sociology, University of Cambridge

Farida El Keiy, Language Teaching Officer, FAMES, University of Cambridge

Professor Khaled Fahmy, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (FAMES), University of Cambridge

Dr. Mónica Moreno Figueroa, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Cambridge

Dr. Iza Hussin, Lecturer, POLIS, University of Cambridge

Dr. Solava Ibrahim, Affiliated Lecturer, Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge

Saussan Khalil, Lector in Arabic, FAMES, University of Cambridge

Professor Charles Melville, FAMES, University of Cambridge

Dr Perveez Mody, Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Professor Clément Mouhot, Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge

Dr. Basim Musallam, King’s College, University of Cambridge

Dr. Yael Navarro, Division of Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Dr. Rory O’Bryen, University Senior Lecturer in Latin American Literature and Culture, University of Cambridge

Dr. Yaron Peleg, Kennedy Leigh Reader in Modern Hebrew Studies, FAMES, University of Cambridge

Dr. Mezna Qato, Junior Research Fellow, King’s College, University of Cambridge

Dr. Helen Pfeifer, University Lecturer, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

Dr. Glen Rangwala, Lecturer, POLIS, University of Cambridge

Dr. Sertaç Sehlikoglu, Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah Research Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

Dr. Arathi Sriprakash, University Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

Dr. Pieter van Houten, Senior Lecturer, POLIS, University of Cambridge

Dr. Njoki Wamai, Post Doctoral Research Associate, POLIS, University of Cambridge

Dr. Graham Denyer Willis, University Lecturer in Development Studies, University of Cambridge

Dr. Waseem Yaqoob, Lecturer, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

Dr. Ayşe Zarakol, Reader in International Relations, POLIS, University of Cambridge

Non-Cambridge signatories

Dr. Giuseppe Acconcia, University of Padua,

Professor Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies & International Relations, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, SOAS University of London

Dr. Lori Allen, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Francesca Biancani, Adjunct Professor, Bologna University and Postdoctoral fellow CEDEJ-IFAO, Cairo, Egypt

Anna Bilous, teaching fellow, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Sara Borrillo, University L’Orientale in Naples

Dr. Estella Carpi, Department of Geography, University College London

Prof. Anna Maria Di Tolla, University of Naples, L’Orientale

Dr. M. Cristina Ercolessi, Associate professor of African Studies at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”

Sai Englert, GTA in Politics and Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Prof. Ersilia Francesca, Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”

Professor Richard Fardon, Founding Head of the SOAS Doctoral School, 2012-16

Dr. Anna Maria Gentili, emeritus African history and Politics, University of Bologna

Dr. Laura Hammond, Reader, Dept of Development Studies, SOAS University of London

Emeritus Professor Mark Hobart, Centre for Global Media and Communications, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Adam Hanieh, Reader in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Feyzi Ismail, Senior Teaching Fellow, SOAS, University of London

Safa Joudeh, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London

Professor Deniz Kandiyouti, Professor of Development Studies, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Professor Laleh Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Lars Peter Laamann, Senior Lecturer, History Department, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Bridget O’Laughlin , retired associate professor of Population and Development, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, The Hague, The Netherlands

Dr. Hettie Malcomson, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of Southampton

Dr. Sandro Mezzadra, Università di Bologna

Dr. Satoshi Miyamura, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, SOAS, University of London

Thomas van der Molen, PhD Student, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Andrew Newsham, Lecturer in International Development, Department of Development Studies & Centre for Development, Environment & Policy, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Daniela Pioppi, Associate professor, Contemporary history of Arab Countries, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, Italy

Dr. Paola Rivetti, Dublin City University, Ireland

Dr. Ruba Salih, SOAS, University of London

Dr. Ashwani Saith , Emeritus Professor, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands

Dr. Lucia Sorbera, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Barbara Sorgoni, University of Turin, Italy

Dr. Fabio Vicini, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Istanbul 29 May University, Turkey

Professor Lynn Welchman, School of Law, SOAS, University of London

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