Egypt 'covered up' murder of student Giulio Regeni with 'fake stories', Italy says
Egyptian officials deliberately misled the probe into the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, Italian prosecutors alleged on Wednesday, spinning a web of "fake stories" to undermine investigators.
Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old doctoral researcher at the UK's prestigious Cambridge University, disappeared in Cairo in January 2016.
His body was found by a roadside bearing extensive marks of torture in a case that strained the traditionally close relations between Cairo and Rome, which accused Egypt of insufficient cooperation in the probe.
"A web was spun by Egypt's national security service from the October preceding his death, a web in which the apparatus used the people closest to Giulio in Cairo," prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco said during his address to a parliamentary commission in Rome.
The hearing was set up to review whether Regeni was being scrutinised by Egyptian security forces before his death.
"Fake stories were fabricated to throw off the investigation" after Regeni's body was found, Mr Colaiocco told the commission, the BBC reported.
An Italian post-mortem revealed that Regeni was tortured in "stages" between 25 January and his death, dying from a broken neck and sustaining injuries consistent with "kicks, fists, sticks and clubs", Colaiocco said.
The Egyptian government has always denied suggestions that its security services were involved in his death or that he died in custody.
Officials have, however, admitted he was being monitored.
Egypt presented several outlandish theories for Regeni's death after initial post-mortem examinations, including that he died in a car accident and was killed by a criminal gang - who were all killed in a shootout.
Colaiocco and other prosecutors have been investigating Regeni's death in coordination with Egyptian officials, but four years later no-one has been charged.
Italy placed five members of Egypt's security forces under official investigation in 2018 for their alleged involvement.