Egypt Extends Investigation into Death of Italian Student Following Pressure, Italy Says

Egypt Extends Investigation into Death of Italian Student Following Pressure, Italy Says

Protestors in front of the Egyptian embassy in Rome demand the truth in the Giulio Regeni case. Photo: ANSA
Protestors in front of the Egyptian embassy in Rome demand the truth in the Giulio Regeni case. Photo: ANSA

Egyptian authorities have agreed to extend the investigation into the death of Italian PhD student Guilio Regeni following pressure from Rome, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Sunday, according to AFP.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry announced on Thursday that it had killed a group of men in New Cairo in a shoot-out that transpired as the security forces were attempting to arrest them.

Later that day, Egyptian police reportedly found a bag with the belongings of Regeni during a raid on an apartment belonging to the sister of one of the “gang members” killed during the shoot-out.

The Italian government rejected the claim that a gang that apparently specialized on kidnapping and scamming foreigners while posing as policemen would be responsible for murdering the Italian student.

“It is important that, in the face of our emphasis on the quest for truth, the Egyptians changed track in a few hours and told us that their investigations are continuing,” Alfano told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday.

He added that Italian investigators should be “directly involved, participating in questioning and evidence gathering … Our input is essential.”

“I repeat to Giulio’s parents and to the Italian public that the Italian government will get the name of the murderers,” he continued.

The Italian investigators have pointed to several inconsistencies with Egypt’s version of what happened to the student. They claim that it is unlikely that the kidnappers would have held on to evidence that could connect them to Regeni several months after his death.

It would also be implausible that the kidnappers would torture their victim for a number of days – as was the case with Regeni – before they killed him if they were only after a ransom. The investigators also pointed out that the fact that the police killed all of the alleged kidnappers – making it impossible to interrogate them – takes away from the story’s credibility.

Giulio Regeni’s parents said of the alleged discovery by Egyptian authorities of their son’s murderers that they were “wounded and embittered by the umpteenth attempt at a cover-up on the part of the Egyptian authorities.”

Commenting on the alleged gang the Interior Ministry referred to in its Thursday statement, Italian investigators said, “There is no definitive element confirming they were responsible.”

On Friday evening Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni insisted: “We want the truth.”

Regeni, who was researching independent trade unions in Egypt, was found dead on the outskirts of Cairo ten days after he went missing. Autopsies have revealed several indicators of torture, indicating he suffered a “slow, painful death.”

Egyptian authorities had invited a team of Italian investigators to join the probe into Regeni’s murder but the Italian team has repeatedly complained that their Egyptian counterparts have withheld necessary evidence.

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