Murdered Italian student detained by police before death

Murdered Italian student detained by police before death
New reports based on sources in Egyptian security confirm The New Arab's reporting in February that Regeni was arrested by police and handed over to security agencies before being killed.
3 min read
22 April, 2016
Italy has pulled its ambassador from Egypt because of the slow-moving investigation [Getty]

An Italian student who was tortured and murdered in Egypt was arrested by police and then transferred to Homeland Security the day he disappeared, intelligence and police sources have told Reuters.

Giulio Regeni was reportedly picked up by plainclothes police officers near a downtown Cairo metro station on the evening of Jan 25, when security had been heightened because of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

A source close to Regeni told The New Arab the same details, in a report published on 17 Feb, that police had taken the student to the fortress-like Azbakeya police station before he was transferred to the Lazoughli state security compound downtown.

The source added that after that his trail went cold.

The mutilated body of the 28-year-old PhD student, who was researching trade unions, was found a week later at the side of a road on Cairo's outskirts, suggesting he died at the hands of the country's notoriously brutal security services.

      Egypt denies Regeni was killed by security sercives [Getty]

"The fact that these leaks come from intelligence sources signal the government is no longer insisting on denying involvement in Regeni's torture and murder and pinning all the responsibility on Homeland Security," an Egyptian diplomat told The New Arab.

Read Also: Sisi blames 'evil' conspirators for Regeni's murder

"This is the first time that the security services have been specifically blamed for the incident and it has come from another one of their departments," the sourced added.

He added that the Foreign Ministry diplomats in charge of the case have been "startled" by the publication of the reports.

The police have been quick to deny the reports, releasing a statement late on Thursday.

"These reports a completely unfounded. The Interior Ministry reserves its rights to take all legal measures against those who promote such rumours and false news," the statement read.

Last month, police said they had discovered Regeni's possessions following a shootout with a criminal gang whose members specifically targeted foreigners.

Family members of the alleged "police-impersonating gang" have said they were gunned down in cold blood by the police and that the five men had nothing to do with Regeni's murder.   

Italy has warned Egypt it will not accept a "fabricated" account of the murder and demanded they receive Regeni's phone records and CCTV footage of the areas where he is thought to have been detained.

Earlier this month, Italy recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations because Egyptian investigators in Rome had failed to hand over all their evidence to the Italians.