Egypt is 'trying to cover-up' Regeni's murder: Italian MP

Egypt is 'trying to cover-up' Regeni's murder: Italian MP
3 min read
25 February, 2016
An Italian MP said on Thursday that Egypt was trying to "cover-up" the truth about the murder of Giulio Regeni, an Italian student who was tortured to death in Egypt.
Many continue to demand the truth about Regeni's mysterious death [AFP]

The head of Italy's parliamentary intelligence oversight committee COPASIR said on Thursday that Egypt was trying to "cover-up" the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose corpse was found in a ditch outside Cairo earlier this month.

"Egypt's implausible findings are infuriating, clumsy and unacceptable attempts to provide a convenient truth," said Giacomo Stucchi after a briefing by Intelligence Undersecretary Marco Minniti.

"Our police officers [in Cairo] have all the audio and video evidence, as well as news on Regeni's last contacts and movements," Stucchi added.

Despite the lack of any official findings to date, Egypt's interior ministry suggested on Wednesday revenge or personal reasons as the latest possible motives behind Regeni's murder, a theory quickly dismissed by Italy.

"The investigation leads to several possibilities including criminal activity or the desire for revenge due to personal reasons, especially as the Italian had many relationships with people near where he lived and studied," the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency MENA.

The ministry repeated its condemnation of "foreign media reports publishing rumours and inaccurate information without evidence", in reference to speculations by many Egyptian, Italian and international media that Regeni was the victim of police brutality.

Egypt's implausible findings are infuriating, clumsy and unacceptable attempts to provide a convenient truth.
- Giacomo Stucchi

Egyptian Ambassador to Italy Amr Helmy has stated that Egyptian security authorities had no hand in Regeni death.

"Regeni was never in police custody and we are not so 'naive' to kill a young Italian and throw away his body on the day of Minister [Federica] Guidi's visit to Cairo," Helmy told the Italian news agency ANSA.

Meanwhile, several dozen people staged a sit-in outside Egypt's embassy in Rome on Thursday to demand the truth about the torture and death of Regeni. 

During joint Egyptian-Italian investigations, the Egyptian police suggested Regeni was a spy,  which Stucchi described as "an offence to [Regeni's] memory".

"If the Egyptian authorities think they saw something like that in his work, they're very wrong," he said.

Initial autopsy results by Egypt's forensic medicine authority showed Regeni had been hit on the back of the head with a sharp instrument, without specifying what might have cause it.

However, a senior source inside Egypt's forensics authority later told Reuters that the victim's body had seven broken ribs, signs of electrocution on his penis, traumatic injuries all over his body, and a brain hemorrhage.

His body also bore signs of cuts from a sharp instrument suspected to be a razor, abrasions, and bruises. He was likely assaulted using a stick as well as being punched and kicked, the source added.

The investigation leads to several possibilities including criminal activity or the desire for revenge due to personal reasons.
- Egypt's interior ministry

Ironically, the Egyptian police officer who has been appointed to lead the investigation into the case has previously been convicted of torturing a man to death, according to human rights reports.

Major General Khaled Shalaby was sentenced to one year in prison in 2003 for complicity in the abduction, torture, and murder of an Egyptian man identified as Shawqy Abdel Aal.

Shalaby, who was also charged with forging official documents, was given a suspended sentence along with two other police officers.

Regeni's corpse was found bearing torture marks over a week after he went missing in downtown Cairo on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 revolution that toppled President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak.

More than 3,000 people attended Regeni's private funeral in his hometown of Fiumicello on 12 February, while Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned Egypt its friendship was on the line over the probe into the student's unexplained death in Cairo.