Italy summons Egypt ambassador over Regeni killing
- Sat, 01 Dec 2018 09:18
CAIRO: Italy’s foreign ministry formally summoned on Friday the Egyptian ambassador to Rome to prompt Egyptian authorities to “act rapidly” in investigating the torture and killing of an Italian researcher nearly three years ago.
The decision by Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi comes after a recent meeting between Egyptian and Italian prosecutors. His office said in a statement that that caused “worry” to ripple through Rome over the prolonged investigation.
Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Cambridge University graduate student who was researching trade unions in Egypt, disappeared in Cairo on January 25, 2016 — the fifth anniversary of Egypt’s popular uprising when thousands of police deployed across Cairo to pre-empt any attempt to mark the occasion.
His body was found several days later by the side of a highway near Cairo with torture marks that activists and rights groups say resembled the results of widespread torture practices in Egyptian detention facilities.
In the statement, Moavero relayed Italy’s concerns and the need to see “concrete” developments in the protracted investigation. Meanwhile, Egypt’s ambassador to Rome offered assurances of his country’s willingness to continue cooperation between Egyptian and Italian prosecutors, it also said. However, nobody has been arrested or charged over the killing.
Egyptian and Italian prosecutors met earlier this week to discuss the state of the investigation, but judicial sources in Rome said the Cairo team failed to deliver a promised breakthrough.
That statement said that the two sides had agreed that “investigations are going well” and that they would “do everything in their power to find the perpetrators.”
Later, Moavero was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying that the government will be discussing whether it would bar Italian companies from attending next week’s arms expo in Cairo, upon the return of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte from the G20 summit in Argentina.
Italy has been pressing Cairo for years to identify and prosecute those responsible for the torture and killing of Regeni. Its latest move comes a day after its Chamber of Deputies announced the suspension of relations with the Egyptian parliament.
Egypt’s parliament said it regrets the decision of Italy’s lower house to break parliamentary ties over the lack of progress in the investigations.
In a Friday statement, Parliament said it was “surprised” by the Italian chamber’s “unilateral” decision and called for the non-politicization of legal issues.
Italy has been pressing Cairo for years to identify and prosecute those responsible for the 2016 killing of Giulio Regeni. Researching labor unions in Egypt at the time, Regeni’s body was found bearing marks of torture.
Italian media says prosecutors in Rome are set to launch an investigation into seven Egyptian secret service members they suspect were involved in Regeni’s abduction and murder. Egypt has long denied its authorities were involved.
Egypt has recently acknowledged that Regeni was being watched by police while in Cairo because of the nature of his research.