Full commitment to find Regeni killers - Sisi (4)

Prosecutors' cooperation important for president

11 July, 19:51

    (ANSAmed) - Cairo, July 11 - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Tuesday stressed to a delegation led by Senate defence committee chair Nicola Latorre Egypt's "full commitment" to finding the killers of Giulio Regeni and underscored the "importance of continuing cooperation" between Egyptian and Italian prosecutors on the case, the MENA news agency said quoting spokesman Alaa Youssef.

    The agency said that Sisi and the delegation discussed "means to reactivate political relations between the two States", referring to the current absence of an Italian ambassador in Cairo because of the Regeni case.

    The parties reviewed "developments" in the Regeni case and Sisi reaffirmed the importance of continuing "close and continuous" cooperation between Italian and Egyptian investigators. He underscored Egypt's "full commitment to work to uncover the circumstances of this incident, and the truth, to catch its authors and hand them over to justice". Italy needs the truth on Regeni's murder, Latorrre told Sisi, stressing the nee for judicial cooperation to be stepped up further.

    "We conveyed an extremely clear message" to Sisi, Latorre said, saying "Italy strongly feels the need for truth...on the murder of one of our sons". He said "this truth requires a significant impulse in the activities of judicial cooperation".

    Italian-Egyptian ties have been strained by the case of Regeni, a 28-year-old Italian university researcher tortured and murdered in Cairo early in 2016.

    Italy has yet to send an ambassador back to Cairo after protesting delays in investigating the case.

    It is also withholding spare parts for F-35 fighter jets.

    Egypt has denied that its security apparatus, frequently accused of repressing and disappearing opponents, had anything to do with Cambridge University researcher Regeni's death.

    Successive Italian governments have vowed to help Regeni's parents get to the truth of the death of their son, who was working on Egyptian trade unions.

    Rome and Cairo prosecutors have been working together on the case but Regeni's parents have accused the Egyptian side of not cooperating fully.

    Receiving the delegation led by ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) Senator Latorre, el-Sisi said he wanted to relaunch ties with Italy.

    "Egypt aspires to develop its historical relations that tie it to Italy and to relaunch them," MENA news agency said, citing presidential spokesman Youssef.

    Sisi also stated his "confidence in the capacity of relations between the two countries to overcome the various challenges".

    Sisi stressed the importance of boosting parliamentary visits "to lend fresh impetus to the privileged ties of friendship between the Egyptian and Italian peoples".

    A month ago, on June 16, Egyptian authorities turned down a request from Rome prosecutors to be present at the questioning of Egyptian police officers who carried out investigations into the Friuli-born researcher.

    They said Egyptian law forbids the presence of foreign magistrates during judicial activity.

    Regeni's parents Claudio and Paola were informed of the refusal during a meeting Friday with Rome chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone and his assistant Sergio Colaiocco.

    Cairo prosecutors have, however, sent their Italian counterparts a second report on testimony from the seven policemen who probed Regeni, who disappeared on January 25 2016 and whose mutilated body was found on the road to Alexandria eight days later. The testimony is a summary of what the agents said and not their testimony in full, judicial sources said.

    Italian magistrates are hoping for a third tranche of documents, starting with questioning of the national security chief who investigated Regeni a few days before his disappearance, as well as testimony given in March 2016 by the agent who searched the home of the alleged head of a kidnapping gang suspected of abducting and robbing foreigners.

    Regeni went missing in the Egyptian capital on January 25, 2016, on the heavily policed fifth anniversary of the uprising that ousted former strongman and president Hosni Mubarak.

    His severely tortured, mutilated body was found on February 3 in a ditch on the city's outskirts.

    Egyptian and Italian prosecutors have been working on the case but Rome has yet to send a new ambassador to Cairo in protest at the lack of progress.

    "Italy has mourned the killing of one of its studious young people, Giulio Regeni, without full light being shed on this tragic case for a year and despite the intense efforts of our judiciary and our diplomacy," President Sergio Mattarella said on the first anniversary of Regeni's disappearance.

    "We call for broader and more effective cooperation so that the culprits are brought to justice".

    Premier Paolo Gentiloni expressed his support for Regeni's family and said his government was determined to get to the truth.

    Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano echoed his words and said that the young man's death "deprives all of us of a generous heart that could have done a great deal for others".

    The message on the foreign ministry website said that "the tragic death of Giulio Regeni is still an open wound not only for his family, who remain in our thoughts, but for our entire country".

    A video recently surfaced in which the head of the Cairo street traders' union, Mohammed Abdallah, secretly filmed Regeni asking him questions about the union using a police shirt-button microcamera.

    Abdallah said he was doing his patriotic duty because Regeni, he said, was a spy.

    Egypt has furnished several explanations for Regeni's death ranging from a car accident to a gay fight to the kidnapping, all of which have been dismissed by Italy.

    Suspicion has fallen on seven members of the Egyptian police and intelligence services who used Abdallah as an informant and who later were responsible for wiping out the alleged kidnapping gang.

    Regeni's personal documents were allegedly found in the house of the sister of one of the alleged gang's members.

    There seem to have been signs of Egyptian cooperation on Regeni's death thanks to the work of Rome prosecutors but there is absolutely no evidence of true cooperation from Egyptian authorities, Regeni's parents said recently.

    Paola and Claudio Regeni urged that Italy's ambassador to Cairo not return to Egypt, since this "would give a signal of detente that must not be given", and stressed the importance of not sending Egypt spare parts for F35 fighter jets until justice has been served. (ANSAmed). (
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