The Regeni affair: Egypt orders detention of slain Italian student's lawyer
Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the detention for 15 days of a lawyer who assisted the family of an Italian graduate student killed under suspicious circumstances during a police crackdown in Cairo, accusing him of disseminating false news.
Ibrahim Metwally was arrested at Cairo International Airport three days ago while traveling to Geneva to speak at a United Nations meeting on enforced disappearances.
He had provided legal services to the family of Giulio Regeni, an Italian researcher who disappeared on Jan. 25, 2016 in Cairo and was later found tortured to death.
The Wednesday decision made by the Supreme State Security Prosecution came a day after Metwally was interrogated.
The defendant is being held in Cairo’s sprawling Tora Prison complex pending investigations.
Regeni disappeared on 25 January in Cairo, where he was researching trade union activity in the North African country.
Italian prosecutors have complained that Egypt has not cooperated in the unsolved case, amid widespread suspicion of foul play involving Egyptian authorities.
Frustrated with the slow pace of the investigation, Italy recalled its ambassador from Egypt in protest, but recently announced that a new envoy would take up the post following some improvements in the handling of the case.
Regeni's family slammed the return of the Italian envoy to Cairo saying it has "the taste of capitulation done up as art".
"It's only when we know the truth about who killed Giulio and why, when his torturers and all their accomplices are handed over to us, alive, that the ambassador can return to Cairo without trampling on our dignity," they said in a statement.