SUN 17 - 2 - 2019
Dec 6, 2018
The Daily Star
Italy investigating five Egyptians in student’s murder
Antonia Williams-Annunziata| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: An Italian prosecutor has placed five Egyptian security officials under investigation over the disappearance and murder of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni in 2016, Italian officials said Tuesday. Prosecutors in Rome compiled a list of suspects, identifying a general, two colonels and a major two of whom are members of Egypt’s national security agency. Italian authorities believe they recruited the head of the Egyptian street vendors’ union to spy on Regeni while he was researching trade unions in Cairo, Italian dailies Corriere della Serra and La Repubblica reported.
According to Italian news agencies, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco said the suspects in the case would be formally investigated in the upcoming days, adding that the cooperation between both countries will unveil the truth. However, relations between Rome and Cairo have deteriorated over the slow pace and apparent deficiencies with the Egyptian investigation.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Luigi Manconi, former president of the Human Rights Commission and advocate for the Regeni family said: “[Italian] Prosecutors have invested a lot of time and effort into understanding the truth behind Regeni’s case, but Egypt has never been serious about cooperating. There is no cooperation.”
Egypt has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to solve the case and bringing Regeni’s killers to justice. Egyptian and Italian prosecutors met in Cairo last Wednesday to discuss the investigations into Regeni’s case.
On Nov. 29, Head of Chambers of Deputies Roberto Fico said Italy’s lower house has cut ties with the Egyptian Parliament, calling on the Italian government to take action, adding that the reason behind a complete suspension of diplomatic relations with the Egyptian Parliament is due to the slow and inconclusive results of the student’s murder, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
In response to Italy’s investigation which states that there is no concrete evidence against the five suspects for a trial or sentencing, Egypt’s State Information Service said in a statement released late Sunday that “charges should be based on evidence and not suspicions.” Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi initially said Egypt was determined to conclude a joint investigation with Italy to bring the killers to justice.
In March, 2016, Egyptian authorities said they killed four suspects in Regeni’s murder during a shootout. Italian authorities have always been doubtful they were the guilty party.
Italian newspaper L’Indro warned that Fico does not realize the consequences of his decision as Egypt plays an important role in the whole world not only in the Middle East.
Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio said Friday that Italy wanted answers on Regeni’s torture and murder in Cairo or “all” of Italy’s ties with Egypt, including the activities of oil and gas giant ENI, would be impacted.
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