Egypt, Italy review updates of Regeni’s murder case amid escalation by Rome

Sarah El-Sheikh
4 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.

Egypt’s General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek met with a delegation of Italian investigators headed by deputy public prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco on Saturday. Both sides reviewed the latest developments of their joint investigation over the death of Italian student Gulio Regeni in Egypt, according to the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.

Italy took some recent decisions which are expected to escalate the issue, only a day after the Italian prosecutor said that some Egyptian officials might be involved in Regeni’s murder.

On Friday, the Italian foreign ministry summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Rome, Hisham Badr, to discuss the issue, while the Italian parliament decided to suspend parliamentary relations with its Egyptian counterpart until they reach a conclusive result in the case.

Italy urged Cairo to respect its commitment to move quickly and bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Regeni, according to an Italian foreign ministry statement. 

The Italian delegation in Cairo revealed the results of the thesis which Regeni was conducting in Egypt at the time, while the Egyptian side presented some footage taken by cameras in the Bohoth metro station where the student was last seen.

In late May, Egypt presented recordings and investigation documents regarding the disappearance and murder of Regeni to the Italian authorities. Some recordings were not clear, so Italy demanded better-quality copies of them.

Al-Ahram reported that the two sides agreed that the investigations are going well, and both confirmed their intention to continue to exchange visits and exert more efforts to uncover the perpetrators soon.

Regeni, a 28-year-old PhD student, was found dead on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road in January 2016. The student was a Cambridge scholar completing his research in Cairo for his PhD on the nature of political and economic developments, and particularly on labour unions in Egypt.

In response to the Italian parliament’s decision to suspend parliamentary relations with Egypt, Egypt’s parliament regretted the decision in a statement. It described it as ‘prejudging the investigations.’

The parliament continued that current relations between Egypt and Italy are strong and historical on all levels, adding that the decision was ‘illogical and surprising as it comes after the Egyptian and Italian prosecution authorities held a joint meeting to complete the investigation into the Regeni’s case.’

“During the meeting, the two parties exchanged viewpoints in a positive climate, and confirmed that the investigation is progressing in a very constructive way, and that they are determined to continue their cooperation until they reach a final result, and a suitable decision in the near future along with the judicial efforts,” the statement added.

Egypt’s parliament said, “it is committed to the rule of law, and will not intervene in the work of investigation authorities, and so unilateral measures do not serve the interests of the two countries.”

Several meetings were held between Egyptian and Italian officials in the past few months, in which Italy said that it was highly satisfied with the progress of the investigation into the case.

Bilateral relations between Egypt and Italy have strained over the murder of Regeni. In April 2016, Italy decided to recall its ambassador in Egypt for failing to provide substantial findings in the investigation, but later he returned in August 2017. In June 2016, the Italian side decided to further escalate and cut military supplies to Egypt.

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