Egypt respects human rights says Sisi on Regeni

President meets French counterpart Macron in Paris

24 October, 17:30

    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris

    PARIS - Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi answered a question on the Giulio Regeni case by saying at a joint press conference with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris Tuesday that Egypt " will not accept any form of violent practice or dictatorship or violation of human rights." He said Egypt "does not practise torture".

    Sisi has previously vowed to get to the truth about the death of Cambridge University researcher Regeni, 28, who was tortured and murdered in Cairo early last year. Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini recently said after meeting Regeni parents that "there are things that cannot be negotiated, human rights cannot be negotiated".

    Speaking at the University of Trieste, Boldrini said "we must know what happened to Giulio. Reasons of State and truth go parallel to one another. Reasons of State (must) correspond to the truth, or the County comes out with its bones broken".

    Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he had asked British counterpart Boris Johnson for joint initiatives to get to the truth about Regeni.

    Alfano told the House Regeni was an Italian citizen but also a Cambridge University researcher.

    Alfano said "we want the truth and we won't settle for less" after sending in an ambassador to encourage progress in the probe.

    Alfano said the new ambassador had already contacted his British counterpart to launch joint measures on the case and the Italian embassy in London had contacted Cambridge University's head of international relations.

    Alfano also voiced the hope that the case of the Regeni family's Egyptian legal consultant, whose detention was recently extended for another 15 days, would soon be resolved.

    Human rights attorney Ibrahim Metwaly, legal consultant to the Regeni family, recently had his provisional detention in jail extended by another 15 days.

    Metwaly was arrested on September 10 at Cairo Airport en route to Geneva to participate in a session of the UN Human Rights Council.

    Defense attorney Ezzat Ghoneim, speaking by phone from Cairo, said Metwaly has been accused of "conspiracy with a UN director", without providing any names.

    On September 28 Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry "reiterated Egypt's commitment to continuing the investigation underway into the murder of the Italian academic Giulio Regeni with all the transparency and interest" necessary.

    The comment was made after a meeting between Shoukry and the new Italian ambassador to Cairo, Giampaolo Cantini.

    Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid noted in the text sent to ANSA that the minister "underscored at the beginning of the meeting that he was pleased to meet the new ambassador to confirm the special nature of Italian-Egyptian relations, their long history and the shared interests between the two countries: economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges, and coordination and constant consultation on how to strengthen security and stability in the Middle East and the Mediterranean." Egypt has denied suggestions its security forces, frequently accused of brutal repression of opposition, had anything to do with the death of Regeni, who was researching the hot topic of Cairo street seller unions.

    Regeni, 28, disappeared on January 25, 2016, the heavily policed fifth anniversary of the popular ousting of former strongman Hosni Mubarak.

    His mutilated body was found in a ditch on the road to Alexandria nine days later.

    Cantini took up his position early last month, replacing Maurizio Massari, who was recalled in spring 2016 following friction over Egyptian lack of cooperation in the quest for the truth.

    But in August Rome decided to send Ambassador Cantini to Cairo, citing recent hoped-for progress over the case.

    Last month Alfano said it was impossible for Rome not to have high-level political and diplomatic relations with such an important neighbour.

    Regeni's parents met Rome prosecutors in September after voicing their "indignation" that Cantini had been sent in - despite Italian government assurances that finding the truth on their son's murder would be a top priority for the envoy.

    The Rome meeting focused on documents recently sent by Egyptian prosecutors, which did not contain any clinching evidence on who tortured and killed the Friuli native.

    The Regeni family insists there has not been any real breakthrough such as to warrant Cantini's posting.

    Alfano said the decision to send Cantini to Cairo does not mean Rome has given up its quest to get to the bottom of the affair.

    He added that the government had already explained its position regarding a New York Times report that the US gave "explosive" evidence that Egypt's secret services tortured and murdered Regeni to the former government of Matteo Renzi.

    In its report, the NYT said the administration of former United States president Barack Obama gave the Renzi government proof last year that graduate student Regeni was abducted, tortured and killed by Egypt's security services, who had been surveilling him for some time because of his research into street vendor trade unions.

    The office of Premier Paolo Gentiloni denied the report.

    The Obama administration gave no "explosive evidence" or real actionable information to the Renzi government that Regeni was tortured and murdered by the Egyptian secret services, Gentiloni's office said.

    Egypt gave several explanations for Regeni's death including a car accident, a gay lovers' tiff turned ugly and murder by an alleged kidnapping gang, later wiped out by police - all of them rejected by Italy.

    But in August Cairo supplied fresh testimony by the police who probed Regeni before and after his death, prompting Rome to send Cantini to Cairo.

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean