'Regeni was murdered over his research,' says Italian prosecutor
The claim, made in an article released on the second anniversary of Regeni's disappearance, is the first time prosecutor Giuseppe Pigatone has publicly discussed the results of a joint investigation with Egyptian authorities.
"The motive can be easily traced to Giulio's research activities during his months in Cairo," Pignatone wrote.
"What also has become clear is that Giulio had for months attracted the attention of Egypt's state apparatus, which continued in an increasingly pressing way until Jan. 25," he added, referring to the day that the Cambdridge University student went missing.
Since the beginning of the investigation, Egypt has faced accusations that a member of its security services commited the murder, but Cairo has denied these claims.
The Regeni family's legal advisor, Ibrahim Metwally, was arrested and detained for 15 days by Egyptian authorities in September, adding fuel to the raging furore over their handling of the investigation, as well as their human rights record amid the post-Arab spring crackdown on dissent and freedoms.
Earlier this month, Italian police seized the computer, mobile phone and some documents belonging Regeni's Cambridge University tutor, Maha Abdulrahman.
Cambridge University has increasingly become a target of the Italian-led investigation, with authorities wanting to know if Regeni was ever put under pressure to pursue such a politically-sensitive topic, and also, whether the university should have done more to safeguard him during his field research.
However, suspicions have been raised over the shifting focus of the investigation, from Cairo to Cambridge, leading some to question whether the investigators have come under political pressure to do so.