Rome urges delivery of slain student documents from Cairo
Italy is urging Egyptian authorities to deliver "as soon as possible" documents relating to the torture and murder of Giulio Regeni, as allegations that Cairo has badly mishandled the case continue.
According to Italian media, foreign minister Angelino Alfano asked his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry "in a very clear and frank way" to send all the documents requested by Rome prosecutors in relation to the slain Italian student.
"We have only one aim, the truth", Alfano said on Italian TV after meeting Shoukry on the sidelines of a US anti-Islamic State group summit in Washington on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Cambridge University PhD student went missing on 25 January last year in central Cairo, at a time when police were out in force in anticipation of protests commemorating the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
His mutilated body was found a week later at the side of a road on Cairo's outskirts. Wounds inflicted suggested he died of torture at the hands of security services during an interrogation, an allegation the Egyptian government has strongly denied.
Egyptian and Italian prosecutors have been working on the case since, with the Egyptian side repeatedly stalling and even providing false and contradictory accounts, detrimentally impacting the relations between the two states.
In April 2016, Rome recalled its ambassador to Cairo in protest to the slow progress made in the investigation and a perceived lack of cooperation.
According to Italian news agency ANSA, Rome prosecutors have already obtained five testimonies and have now filed a request to their Cairo counterparts for another five, namely from agents involved in keeping tabs on Regeni.
|It recently emerged that the head of the Egyptian street vendors' trade union secretly filmed Regeni for the Cairo police in December 2015.|
It recently emerged that the head of the Egyptian street vendors' trade union secretly filmed Regeni for the Cairo police in December 2015.
The union official, Mohammed Abdallah, said he had agreed to do his patriotic duty because Regeni was a "spy".
Regeni had been researching street vendor trade unions, an especially sensitive political issue in Egypt, with successive governments fearing strikes and unrest.
Egypt has forcefully denied that its police were involved in his abduction, suggesting several alternative scenarios, including that Regeni had been killed in a road accident.
In December, prosecutors said they had spoken with a number of Cairo-based officers who claimed to have found Regeni's belongings, including his passport, in the home of a local gang leader's wife.
That account met with suspicion in Italy, where politicians and the media have suggested that Egyptian police were behind the student's death.
Egypt later debunked its own story, saying the gang may not have had any links to Regeni's death, but it never explained why the student's ID cards were found at the scene, again prompting speculation of a police cover-up.