Further penalties likely if Egypt’s Regeni investigations remain fruitless

Taha Sakr
3 Min Read
Criminal law Professor Mohamed Bahaa Abu Shoqa said the Egyptian Public Prosecution has denied the involvement of the country’s security forces in the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Italian ambassador to Cairo Maurizio Massari left Egypt on Sunday morning from Cairo International Airport.

Massari was recalled to Rome by the Italian government for consultations following the failure of bilateral meetings between the Italian and Egyptian investigation teams on the death of the Italian student Guilio Regeni.

The Italian Foreign Ministry stated that recent developments in the investigation called for an “urgent evaluation”  to decide on the most appropriate actions that must be taken to ascertain the truth about the “barbaric” murder.

Egypt received an official notification from Italy regarding the ambassador’s departure, according to a statement issued by Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid on Saturday night.

Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry called his Italian counterpart on Saturday regarding the decision to recall their ambassador, the ministry statement read.

“[Shoukry] inquired about the decision issued by Italian investigators to suspend common investigations on Regeni’s murder with Egypt and Italy’s decision to recall its ambassador, from his Italian counterpart, as this raises several unanswered questions,” the statement read.

Shoukry expressed Egypt’s exasperation at the Italians political attitude towards Regeni’s case, arguing that the investigations process requires a climate without tensions to continue, the statement read.  Referencing Italy’s request to view phone records, Shoukry said investigations must not violate the personal freedoms of Egyptian citizens.

The Italian foreign minister said the decision to recall the ambassador was issued after the Egyptian government refused to follow “certain measures” that would reveal the truth behind Regeni’s murder, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday.

The Italian minister added that this decision is part of a chain of appropriate measures to be executed if there is no suitable interaction from Egyptian government.

Meanwhile, Italian newspaper La Stampa predicted that Italy will undertake a number of “penalties” if bilateral talks and investigations between Egypt and Italy fail to reveal the real facts about Regeni’s death.

La Stampa clarified, in a report published on Sunday, that these penalties will include suspension of cultural, study and tourism exchange programmes, saying that Italy may declare Egypt an “unsafe country to visit”.

On Saturday, the delegation of Egyptian investigators sent to Italy held a press conference to discuss the results of the investigations into the murder of Regeni.

Undersecretary to the prosecutor-general Mostafa Soliman said during the conference that a dispute erupted with Italian investigators when they insisted on obtaining the phone records of residents from the surrounded areas where Regeni lived and where his body was found. However, their demand refused by the Egyptian delegation.

Soliman asserted that the Italian request to handle all phone records is illegal and unconstitutional. Italy insists that cooperation between Italian and Egyptian prosecutions will continue if phone records are delivered.

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