Regeni murder case: Rome sets February trial for Egyptian officers

Regeni murder case: Rome sets February trial for Egyptian officers
The trial of four Egyptian security officials implicated in the brutal murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni has been set for February 20 in Rome.
2 min read
04 December, 2023
Regeni's brutal murder in Egypt sparked protests in Italy calling for justice [Getty]

Court officials in Rome set a new trial date Monday for four high-level Egyptian security officials in the 2016 abduction, torture and slaying of an Italian doctoral student in Cairo.

Lawyers and the parents of Giulio Regeni, whose mutilated body was found along a highway in Egypt, said the trial on charges of abduction, torture and murder would begin at a Rome courthouse on February 20.

The development followed a September ruling by Italy’s Constitutional Court that the defendants could be put on trial even though they they hadn't received formal notification because Egyptian authorities declined to provide addresses for them.

Regeni’s parents have spent years seek justice in their 28-year-old son’s slaying.

"It's a beautiful day,'' Regeni's mother, Paola Deffendi, told reporters after emerging from the courthouse after the trial date was set.

Still, “the pain remains,″ Claudio Regeni, the slain student’s father, said.

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Regeni was researching labor unions for Cairo street vendors when he was abducted, shortly after being seen near a subway station in the Egyptian capital. After his body was found, Egyptian authorities alleged that a gang of robbers had killed the Cambridge University student.

In 2022, Italy’s top criminal court rebuffed prosecutors’ efforts to revive the trial of the Egyptian defendants after a lower court ruled the trial couldn't proceed because the defendants hadn't been formally informed of an order requiring them to stand trial.

The case strained relations between Italy and Egypt, an ally in Italian efforts to combat international terrorism. At one point, Italy withdrew its ambassador to press for Egyptian cooperation in the investigation. Italian prosecutors eventually secured indictments of the four Egyptians, who likely will be tried in absentia.

Regeni's mother has said her son’s body was so badly mutilated by torture that she only recognized the tip of his nose when she viewed it. Human rights activists have said the marks on his body resembled those resulting from widespread torture in Egyptian Security Agency facilities.

The officials charged by Italian prosecutors are police Maj. Sherif Magdy; police Maj. Gen. Tareq Saber, who was a top official at the domestic security agency at the time of Regeni’s abduction; Col. Hesham Helmy, who was serving at a security center in charge of policing the Cairo district where the Italian was living, and Col. Acer Kamal, who headed a police department in charge of street operations and discipline.