Mohammed Salim gives a lecture in a journalism and mass communications course at the American University in Cairo campus in New Cairo, May 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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Egyptian authorities are increasingly harassing foreign academics with restrictions, deportations and bans on entering the country. Particularly targeted are those researching anything related to Egypt's "revolution" or social issues like organized labor – the doctoral topic of an Italian student recently killed under mysterious circumstances. The case of Giulio Regeni has only deepened worries among academics that they are being caught up in a crackdown that Egypt's government has waged the past two years against dissent. Regeni disappeared on the fifth anniversary of Egypt's Jan. 25, 2011 uprising, and his body turned up days later with marks of torture. Academics say the past years of harassment show how sensitive research work is in the eyes of authorities – especially amid a public atmosphere where foreigners are depicted in the media as spies or agents stirring up turmoil.Amy Austin Holmes, a professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo, knows several foreign colleagues who have been arrested or barred from entering Egypt because of their work. In an open letter, some 4,600 prominent academics demanded Egyptian authorities investigate not just Regeni's death but all cases of forced disappearances.The labor sector appears to be particularly fraught with problems for researchers.
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