In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

Jia Tolentino

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Short Cuts: Harry Goes Rogue

Jonathan Parry

Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close

I arrived​ at Al-Modireyet Amn al-Giza, the Giza Directorate of Security, late in the morning of Monday, 8 February. ‘But where’s the entrance?’ I asked the taxi driver as he stopped on the edge of a six-lane road jammed with traffic. Twelve-foot-high concrete anti-bomb barriers ran the entire length of the street. Behind them were the offices of the directorate, which is leading Egypt’s investigation into the death of Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old PhD student at Cambridge, affiliated to the American University in Cairo. He was carrying out research on labour in Egypt and appears to have met some of the most prominent labour organisers in the country. He had been in Egypt since September.

Regeni disappeared on the evening of 25 January, the fifth anniversary of the revolution that unseated Hosni Mubarak. He was expected at a birthday party being held near Tahrir Square, but never arrived. When friends tried to reach him, his mobile phone was off. Nine days later, on 3 February, Regeni’s body, naked from the waist down, was found on the outskirts of Cairo, by the side of the desert road to Alexandria. His body was covered in cigarette burns and knife wounds; his face was bruised and there were cuts on his ears. Reuters reported that Regeni had ‘seven broken ribs, signs of electrocution on his penis, traumatic injuries all over his body and a brain haemorrhage’. The Italian press reported that nails on his hands and feet had been torn out: that he had been tortured as if he were a ‘spy’.

The headquarters of the directorate cover several acres. I entered the complex through a break in the barriers. At reception I said I wanted to see one of the lead officers, and listed four names, all generals or senior investigators. I knew that protocol required me to submit a written request to the Ministry of Information, which would then be passed on to the Ministry of Interior and then, most likely, be denied or simply not answered. But I also knew that social etiquette requires that deference be shown towards people who appear to be important, and to mothers. A middle-aged foreign woman with grey hair, who speaks reasonable Arabic and says ‘Good morning’ to the plainclothes officers who stand outside government buildings, is never turned away – or such has been my experience.

After just a few minutes, my press pass was turned over to an officer. When he returned, he took me up to the second-floor office of General Yasin Seyem, the chief of public relations. The general insisted that I take tea and asked how much sugar I would like. I asked him about the display of photographs on the ground floor of the building. To the right of the elevator I had seen framed photos of officers who had died since the 2011 revolution. To the left, in a single large frame, were many more headshots, smaller and several times greater in number. These were the rank and file policemen who have been killed during the same period. Seyem handed me a heavy hardcover book. It was a record of every policeman from the Giza Governorate who has died in the past five years. Each page bore a single photograph and a paragraph or two describing who the policeman was and how he died.

‘So these are all policemen who have died since the revolution?’

‘No,’ the general corrected me. ‘These are martyrs.’

His use of the word ‘martyrs’ says much about the troubled relationship between the nation’s police and its people. Since the removal of Mubarak in January 2011, the police have reclaimed their position as the controllers of life in Egypt. But for a time, in the immediate aftermath of the revolution and during the one-year presidency of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, the police refused to work. They returned to duty on 3 July 2013, when Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi arrested Morsi and assumed power. Since then Islamist groups have claimed responsibility for the killing of hundreds of policemen. Sometimes they die in bombings; sometimes they are shot.

Today armed men in black uniforms stand outside state offices, their faces often concealed by balaclavas. They take up positions at important intersections and on bridges; they roar through the streets in new four-by-fours. And unknown numbers of plainclothes policemen monitor the lives of almost everyone who lives in Egypt, foreigners in particular.

In the last year or so local and international human rights groups have reported the unexplained disappearances of more than four hundred Egyptians. The government for months denied any knowledge of their whereabouts, then confirmed in January that 99 of them were being held by the state. Several people have died recently in police custody, their bodies bearing signs of torture.

As a foreign resident in Egypt, depending on the length of your stay, you may or may not have dealings with the police. The experience is never reassuring. A visit to the local police station to get a stamp on a document for a driver’s licence quickly goes awry. A plainclothes officer may be sent to ask your neighbours about you while you sit in the station unawares. If, as in Regeni’s case, you speak Arabic and are in contact with Egyptians who are critical of the state, you will be followed, perhaps questioned and even arrested.

While my tea was being prepared, the general made a phone call to tell someone that I was in his office. He noted that my press pass had ‘expired’ (the end date read ‘2015’). I assured him it was valid: all foreign journalists are currently waiting, in what has become an annual event, for the belated issuing of cards for the new year.

Then there was a discussion between myself, the general and a second PR man called Ahmed Gamal, who translated the general’s replies to my questions. A third man, poorly dressed, with cracked glasses and rough, stained hands, joined us and sat silently at the end of the row of chairs, his presence unexplained.

‘What do you think happened to the Italian?’ the general asked me. I said that I had no information on this and that my purpose in coming to the directorate was to find out what the Egyptian investigators had discovered.

‘Did you see what the Italians said yesterday?’ I asked. The general said no, he had not. I told him that the Italian interior minister had said that Regeni died as the result of ‘animal-like violence’, that he had been tortured and killed in the most grievous way.

‘Why are they saying that the police are involved?’ Gamal asked me. ‘Why would the police do such a thing: take someone off the streets?’

I had said nothing about the police.

The general also wanted to know why there was so much ‘propaganda’ about the case in the foreign media. Why were other countries so interested?

I didn’t get to meet any of those working on the case. I, like most other journalists, will have to wait for a communiqué to be issued through the Foreign Press Office. And I will scan the local Arabic-language newspapers for small details, invented or leaked. There is usually some purpose to these reports, some effort to turn attention in a particular direction.

It was only as I stood up to leave the general’s office that the third man spoke. He was there, it was now apparent, because he had a ‘good news’ story about the police. He told the story in perfect English, but had to hurry as I headed for the door. The police, he said, had come ‘so quickly’ when a man threatened his son with a knife. He made broad, theatrical gestures, imitating the thrust of a knife entering his chest. I assured him that I too would call the police should I find myself in an emergency.

As I left the directorate, a uniformed policeman who had also been in the general’s office stopped to speak with me. ‘People outside, they have a bad impression of the police,’ he said. ‘But we are losing two or three people every day, in the Sinai, in Giza.’ He believed the killing of Regeni was ‘political, not criminal’. It was, he suspected, committed by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, ‘to damage relations between Egypt and Italy’.

On 13 February, President Sisi spoke to the country’s newly elected parliament. He began by calling on the MPs to observe a minute’s silence for the ‘martyrs of Egypt’.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.