Corrado Augias, an Italian journalist, writer and TV host, went to the French embassy in Rome this morning to return the “Légion d'honneur”, honour he received in 2007 from the French government.
The gesture, announced over the weekend, was made in protest against the French government's decision to award the same recognition, in great secrecy, to the Egyptian president Al Sisi despite the alleged complicity of the north African state in the killing of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni.
"The ambassador said that he understands my gesture and that he does not share it," Augias said as he left the embassy building. "I recalled that Gaddafi was received in 2009 in Rome with military honours and flags but he was not given any decoration. Al Sisi, who has such an ambiguous position, could have been received with every state honour but without that additional recognition."
Augias added: "The ambassador reiterated that France will always be at the forefront of human rights. It was a bitter and cordial conversation. Al Sisi is objectively complicit in the criminal behaviour carried out by his subordinates."