“We are afraid of the Giulio Regeni scenario”: a year since the disappearance of French researcher Ian Bourdon in Cairo!

After a year of touring several European countries, 27-year-old French researcher Ian Bourdon thought his adventure would not be complete until he moved to Egypt. On the evening of July 24 last year, he left with a backpack, some clothes and a tent of travel, on a trip from Turkey, to Sharm el-Sheikh, the luxury tourist resort overlooking the Red Sea , surrounded by mountains on the other, an opportunity not to be missed.For a young man who loves adventure.

French researcher Ian Bourdon

The young man left quickly to climb the nearby Jabal Musa, which extends to an altitude of 2,300 meters. After a journey of a few days, the young man changes direction to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in search of more adventure and above all an exploration of the ancient city’s history. On the way there, Ian recognizes a young Egyptian policeman, on Suez Road at one of the stops, who takes him with him in his car, to Cairo. And near Tahrir Square, news of the French young man being cut off, without anyone knowing what happened next.

Almost a year ago, the fate of the young Frenchman, Ian Bourdon, was already unknown. His family struggles to find their missing son and calls for help to the Egyptian and French authorities and anyone who sees him to help find out his fate.

The young man with a love of history and cultural sites thought the Cairo trip would be the perfect highlight of his adventures. He did not realize that Cairo still had a dark and dangerous image, one of overpopulation, high crime rates and security repression.

At first it seemed that the young man enjoyed his journey to the Egyptian capital, given his interest in history as he pursued his higher studies in this field. This pleasure was evident in the last letter he sent to his mother, Isabel Leclerc, dated July 28, “Everything is wonderful and interesting here.”

The mother explains to Daraj, “He was happy to come to Cairo. He astonishedly summed up the beautiful and wonderful places he visited or planned to visit in the Egyptian capital,” adding: “He told me that he would visit the Coptic neighborhood in Cairo, the Egyptian Museum and some archeological sites. ”

He also told Ian his mother about some other information, and about his meeting with the policeman, who drove him to a hotel, and then spent the next night after his arrival in Cairo with this policeman and his friends. without giving further details. about the identity of these people.

Less than a week passed, and specifically on August 3, Ian contacted his sister Wendy, telling her that he would soon share the full details of his trip to Cairo with her, before disappearing, and cut off all news from him. word.

During the first month of his disappearance, the family did not think anything bad had happened to him, as the young man did not like to use his smartphone much, he wandered around without any “phone line” and he app- hated warnings. His sister explains: “We said that at first he did not respond to our messages because he was having a good time and that there were many places he visited in Cairo. Ian did not like using the internet much, and he likes to enjoy every moment. ”

The family began to worry in September, with the arrival of his mother’s birthday, as he was always one of the first people to congratulate her, but this year he did not send anything to the mother and did not respond to her messages. . The mother explains: “I was waiting for him to send me an email to congratulate me, but I did not receive anything. It was strange because he likes to be present or to attend events. “

Concern turned into true fear by November, with the birthday of his sister Wendy, who received nothing from him. “That does not mean he is so busy,” Isabelle explains. “We realized there was a problem, and announced he was missing.”

In November, the family approached the French authorities to help find Ian. The French Foreign Ministry has asked its embassy in Cairo to communicate with the National Security Agency in Cairo to launch an investigation into his disappearance. “We sent all the information we had about his visit to Egypt to the embassy, ​​which passed it on to the National Security Agency in Cairo,” his mother explained.

The Egyptian security service did not respond to the French embassy until January, when it was asked to submit an official report to the Giza directorate on the disappearance of the young man, as the embassy is within the Giza directorate. .

Fear of an unknown fate

Ian Bourdon’s disappearance in Cairo arouses his family’s astonishment: how a friendly, always-smiling tourist, who likes to talk to people, an optimist, curious about history, and who fell in love with Cairo from the first moment ended up in an unknown. fate?

His mother says: “We have great fears for his life, we have fears that he will be detained for any reason, and that we can not help him, it scares us.”

In January, information came from the French Interior Ministry, which contributed to the family’s fears, suggesting that something bad could happen to him. Information reveals that 4 consecutive withdrawals made from a financial machine near Tahrir Square, in just 5 minutes, on August 7 – 3 days after his last contact with them – completely emptied his account of the 200 euros he owned had.

This fear prompted the family to seek to find out the situation in Egypt, they did not know that the country here is a political approach, and that forced disappearances occur frequently, “we did not know beforehand the political nature “We do not read about the existence of political oppression, but Ian has no political activity, he is just a history lover.”

The incident of torture and murder of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni in Egypt in early 2016, arouses fear in the heart of the family of this young French tourist, to repeat the same scenario. “We read about what happened to Giulio Regeni, this example scares us, and we are afraid it could be repeated with our son,” said his mother, in a voice mixed with tears.

And on Sunday, the Egyptian Public Prosecutor announced the murder of a foreigner in his residence in Nasr City, east of Cairo, on the basis of a woman and 4 people who thought he had an amount of money, but the prosecution did not the nationality of this person or the date of the incident.

What frightens the family the most is the overall silence on the part of the Egyptian authorities, especially national security, over the repeated requests of them and France to reveal the fate of Ian. Days pass very slowly for Ian’s family, but investigators into his disappearance do not take into account the issue of time and the family’s suffering. Ian’s family had to wait until March for the Cairo authorities to respond by confirming that Ian is on Egyptian soil. His sister says, “Eight months to tell us he was already in Egypt!”

Last May, Isabelle, her husband, and Wendy decided to come to Cairo to follow the investigations conducted by the Egyptian authorities, and to search for Ian. The family went to the public prosecutor’s office, which they received, but was surprised that the latter had no details about the case. Wendy explains, “They took us out of the case file, it was empty, they did not even have a photo of Ian, and there was no video camera scan of the ATM near Tahrir Square, or any information about the young policeman who he did not meet, “before adding,” We did not find in the file the letters we sent from France to Egyptian national security. “

Ian’s family was hoping to hold a meeting with the National Security, who agreed on their vision, before deciding to postpone the date for another day, which was not specified, so the visit ended without holding this meeting. Faced with this indifference of the Egyptian authorities, the family began the search for the young man. The three leave with a photo of Ian in their hands, through the streets of Cairo, and enter any building on which the word hotel is written, hoping to find this place where Ian hid at the end of July 2021, but in vain. “We came to Cairo with a lot of hope, but we came back without any progress,” says the mother.

Although more than two months have passed since the family visited Cairo and almost a year since the disappearance of Ian Bourdon, the family is still living in mystery and they are worried about his fate. His sister Wendy explains bitterly: “The persistent silence of the Egyptian authorities so far raises many questions. We do not know why they do not respond to us … Why have they not started the investigation yet? This leaves us already imagine the frightening scenarios, no one disappears for so long without justification! ”

In light of this silence, Ian’s family turned to the media to highlight the matter, hoping that the Egyptian authorities would provide new information or help someone reveal the fate of the young man. “We try everything to find him,” said the mother. “He’s just a tourist who loves Cairo and its history.”

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