Italy accuses Egyptian security of Giulio Regeni’s murder

Italian parliamentary panel report says Egypt’s security apparatus was responsible for the 2016 killing of the student.

Demonstrators hold placards outside the Egyptian embassy in support of Giulio Regeni in London [File: Simon Dawson/Reuters]

An Italian parliamentary panel has accused the Egyptian security apparatus of kidnapping, torturing and murdering a student, Giulio Regeni, in Cairo in 2016.

Regeni, a postgraduate student at Britain’s Cambridge University, disappeared in the Egyptian capital in January 2016. His body was found almost a week later and a post-mortem examination showed he had been tortured before his death.

“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,” the final report of the cross-party parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.

Egyptian police and officials have repeatedly denied any involvement in Regeni’s disappearance and killing.

The four suspects, who face trial in absentia in an Italian court, have never responded publicly to the accusations.

Italy began the trial against four senior members of Egypt’s security services over their suspected role in the case, but proceedings were suspended in October because of concerns the men might not know they had been charged.

That decision means the case will now return to a preliminary court which must decide whether to make a new effort to locate the four officials and hand them their writs.

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

Italian prosecutors have accused Egypt of refusing to reveal the men’s whereabouts and of undermining their investigation.

“The halt in the [trial] proceedings is purely procedural and in no way prejudices the conclusions reached by the prosecutors, which this panel fully shares,” the parliamentary panel’s report said.

‘Aggravated kidnapping’

The Italian prosecutors say Major Magdi Sharif, from Egypt’s General Intelligence, Major General Tarek Sabir, the former head of state security, police officer Colonel Hisham Helmy and Colonel Ather Kamal, a former head of investigations in Cairo, were responsible for the “aggravated kidnapping” of Regeni.

Sharif has also been accused of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.

“It is time to remind Egypt of its responsibilities as a state, which are very clear and significant regarding the fate of Giulio Regeni and go beyond the penally significant responsibilities of its agents,” the panel said.

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

Source: News Agencies