Italy blames Egypt for student's murder

Italy blames Egypt for student's murder
2 min read
01 December, 2021
Italy has blamed Egypt for the 2016 killing of one of its nationals in Cairo
Investigators believe Regeni was abducted and killed after being mistaken for a foreign spy [Getty- file photo]

Egypt's security agency is to blame for the 2016 torture and death of an Italian graduate student in Cairo, according to the findings of a Italian parliamentary commission published Wednesday.

The final report of the special commission over the death of Giulio Regeni was the culmination of a two-year investigation. It came as Italian prosecutors have been thwarted in their attempts to try the student's alleged killers in court.

Regeni, 28, was in Cairo doing research on trade unions for a doctorate at Cambridge University when he was abducted in January 2016. His mutilated body was later found on the outskirts of the city.

"Responsibility for the kidnapping, torture and killing of Giulio Regeni rests directly on the security apparatus of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and in particular on officials of the National Security Agency (NSA), as minutely reconstructed by the investigations carried out by the Public Prosecutor's Office in Rome," read the report.

The findings came weeks after an Italian court threw out the trial of the four Egyptian security officers allegedly responsible, ruling that the defendants could not be tried in absentia without first being notified of the judicial proceedings against them.

The security officers stand accused of kidnapping, conspiracy to murder and grievous bodily harm.

Investigators believe Regeni was abducted and killed after being mistaken for a foreign spy.

Egypt - which has no extradition treaty with Italy - refused to provide the contact details of the men and prosecutors were unable to officially inform the defendants of the judicial process against them.

The killing has soured diplomatic relations between Rome and Cairo, but did not prevent Italy last year from approving a $1.2-billion sale of two warships to Egypt, drawing sharp rebukes from Regeni's family.

Egypt's judiciary has acted in an "obstructive and openly hostile manner", and its lack of cooperation "calls for an appropriate political stance," the parliamentary report read.

Egypt's failure to disclose the whereabouts of the defendants "seems to constitute a veritable admission of guilt on the part of a regime that seems to have regarded judicial cooperation as a delaying tactic aimed at restoring the previous level of bilateral relations, and certainly not the main way to bring the Regeni killers to justice," read the report.

A new preliminary hearing in the case before a judge in Rome is scheduled for January.