Egyptian investigators present Regeni murder file in Rome

Egyptian investigators present Regeni murder file in Rome
An Egyptian delegation has presented Italian officials with a report on their investigation into the murder of an Italian researcher, after Rome put pressure on Cairo to release the "truth".
4 min read
08 April, 2016
Regeni was found dead and tortured on the outskirts of Cairo in February [Getty]
Egyptian and Italian investigators have finished their first days of talks in Rome aimed at uncovering the truth behind the so-far inconclusive probe into the torture murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose death in Cairo has strained diplomatic relations.

A delegation of five Egyptian prosecutors and police met with their Italian counterparts for five hours on Thursday to look over a 2,000-page Egyptian file of witness interviews, phone records and CCTV footage on Regeni's suspicious murder.

"The meeting was a mutual exchange of evidence. The Italians delivered chats from Regeni's laptop and the results of the autopsy conducted in Italy and the Egyptians presented their 2,000-page investigation, which includes CCTV footage," an Al-Araby TV correspondent told The New Arab.

"The Egyptians left at 3:00 pm and the Italians stayed longer to assess the report. They will meet again tomorrow morning at 9:00 am for their last day of meetings," she added.​

Italy has recently upped its pressure on Egypt over the slain 28-year-old student, warning it would not accept a "fabricated" account of the Italian's torture and murder.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said Italy will not stop until it got "the truth, full stop. The real truth".

"We owe that to Giulio, his friends, his mother, father, his little sister and we owe it to all of us. We hope and we think Egypt can cooperate with our magistrates. We want, we want, we want the truth to the see the light of day," stressed Renzi.

He also said Italy was seeking information on Regeni having "probably been placed under surveillance prior to his abduction."

      Regeni was studying Egyptian labour unions [Twitter]
If these elements are not forthcoming, Italy's foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni warned of damage to the usually close relations between the two countries.

"The government is ready to react by adopting immediate and proportionate measures," he said, rejecting suggestions Italy could not afford a bust-up with a major trade and security partner.

"In the name of reasons of state, we will not accept a fabricated truth... and we will not allow the dignity of our country to be walked all over."

On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that "individual incidents" like Regeni's murder would not affect Egypt's relations with Italy.

Sisi added that Egypt was committed to "full and transparent cooperation with Italy to reveal the truth and bring the perpetrators to justice".

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Regeni, a PhD candidate at Cambridge University, was found dead on the outskirts of Cairo on 3 February, his body bearing the tell-tale signs of police torture, which an autopsy concluded had been inflicted over several days.

He had been researching labour movements in Egypt, a sensitive topic, and had written articles critical of the government under a pen name.

On Wednesday, an Italian newspaper claimed that the police officer leading the initial investigation into Regeni's murder had ordered the abduction and torture of the Italian student.

"The order to abduct Giulio Regeni was given by [police] general Khaled Shalabi, head of criminal police and Giza investigation department," who previously had him "followed and his apartment searched," the paper reported.

Italian judicial sources later said the report Regeni was tortured to death at the hands of Egyptian security operatives had "no relevance" to the investigation.

Egyptian police said last month they had identified a criminal gang linked to the murder, after killing four members and finding the PhD student's passport in the apartment of a sister of one of the slain suspects.

Four people have been detained in relation to Regeni's murder, including the wife and a sister of the alleged leader of the gang.

Family members of the alleged gang members have told Egyptian media that the police's story is a "cover-up" and said they have proof the men are not involved in the murder.