Italian student Giulio Regeni probe set to wrap up

Rome prosecutors set to charge 5 Egypt spies

01 December, 17:08

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, DECEMBER 1 - Rome prosecutors told their Egyptian counterparts Monday night they were ready to wrap up their probe into the 2016 abduction, torture and murder in Cairo of Italian student Giulio Regeni and were set to charge five members of Egypt's security apparatus.

    The Rome prosecutors said they had the necessary proof and witness statements against the five secret service members accused of abducting Regeni in January 2016.

    "We will ask to try them within a few days," they told their Cairo counterparts on a videolink.

    Egyptian prosecutors said they did not agree with their Roman colleagues led by Michele Prestipino.

    Egypt's prosecutor general, Hamada al Sawi, said "there is insufficient evidence to prove the charges".

    Regeni's parents, Paola and Claudio, said they "noted the umpteenth fruitless meeting between the two prosecutor's offices".

    They said "the paths of the two sets of prosecutors have never been so divided.

    "In these years we have suffered wounds and outrages of all kinds from the Egyptian side, they have abducted, tortured and killed our son, they have thrown mud and discredit on him, they have lied, insulted and deceived not only us but the whole country".

    Witnesses have told the Rome prosecutors that Regeni was picked up by members of the Egyptian security services.

    The witnesses, deemed reliable by the prosecutors, say the 28-year-old Cambridge doctoral researcher was abducted by agents of the Egyptian National Security Agency on January 25, 2016, the heavily policed fifth anniversary of the uprising that ousted former strongman Hosni Mubarak, and taken to at least two barracks in the subsequent hours.

    The young man from Friuli was seen in a barracks near the Dokki metro stop, where he was previously last seen, the witnesses said, and later at another barracks where young foreigners are usually taken.

    Rome prosecutors told their Cairo counterparts about these witness statements, but the Egyptian magistrates rejected the statements as allegedly unreliable.

    Regeni was found dead in a ditch on the Cairo-Alexandria highway on February 3, 2016, a week after disappearing on the Cairo metro. He had been tortured so badly that his mother said she only recognised him by the tip of his nose.

    At various times Egypt has advanced differing explanations for his death including a car accident, a gay lovers' tiff and abduction and murder by an alleged kidnapping gang that was wiped out after Regeni's documents were planted in their lair.

    The student was researching Cairo street sellers unions for the British university, a politically sensitive subject.

    The head of the street hawkers union had fingered Regeni as a spy.

    Rome recently drew condemnation from Regeni's parents by announcing the sale of two frigates to Egypt.

    Premier Giuseppe Conte said the deal was on a separate level from cooperation on the Regeni case.

    Ex-premier Matteo Renzi, who was in office when Regeni died, has called for Italy to send a special envoy to Egypt to urge the Sisi regime to enable the trial of the five secret service members.

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has repeatedly promised to help Italy get to the truth about the murder.(ANSAmed).


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