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The New Arab Staff

Fears for Italian man arrested in Egypt on 'drug trafficking' charges

He was arrested in Cairo [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 August, 2020

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An Italian man arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs in Cairo has prompted fears of Giulio Regeni, who was killed by Egypt authorities in 2016.
An Italian man has been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking in Cairo, and after being held for several days is set to fly home.

The 27-year-old Sicilian man was arrested in Cairo accused of being part of an international drug-trafficking operation, his family revealed.

Calogero Nicolas Valenza, from the Gela region of Sicily was stopped at Cairo airport Sunday night after getting off at a flight from Barcelona.

According to local reports Valenza had been working as a PR for an events organiser company in Spain for four years.

He does not have a criminal record, and it was reported that he was not carrying drugs at the time he was arrested.

Valenza had been reported to the police by a friend who had also been arrested last week and who had named him during interrogation.

His family had initially reported him missing.

The Italian embassy is said it is assisting in the matter and the foreign ministry allowed the man to phone his family three days after being detained.

"Mum, I'm fine. Don't worry. I'm waiting for the magistrate to sign my release and then I'll take the plane and go back to Italy," he told them, according to Italian publication La Repubblica.

The call, sources at the ministry said, took place in the presence of a lawyer, Nicoletta Cauchi.

Valenza apparently travelled to Egypt from Spain to visit a friend, and he was not aware that he was being investigated.

His family are asking for intervention from Amnesty International.

Last year Italian authorities accused Egyptian officials of deliberately trying to mislead the investigation into the death of PhD student Giulio Regeni, who was killed in 2016 and whose death remains officially unsolved.

His body, at the time, had been so disfigured that his mother told Italian parliament she was only able to identify him using the tip of his nose.

Last year, Italy placed five members of the Egyptian security forces under official investigation for their alleged involvement.

When Giulio Regeni was found dead in Cairo, human rights organisations accused the Egyptian government of being involved in his murder.

After his corpse arrived in Italy, experts were able to verify that Giulio Regeni had been tortured in stages, eventually leading to his death - a hallmark of Egyptian security services.

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