Italian prosecutors have charged Tarek Saber, Athar Kamel Mohamed Ibrahim, Uhsam Helmi, and Magdi Ibrahim Abdelal Sharif with the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni. The men are set to be tried in absentia.
According to a statement released by the Italian news agency ANSA, the possible charges against the four men are ‘multi-aggravated abduction of a person, complicity in aggravated murder, and complicity in grievous bodily harm’.
According to a statement released by the Egyptian Public Prosecution, Italian prosecutors had initially found a connection between five individuals working as part of the security apparatus in Egypt, but that these individuals acted independently of any Egyptian governmental body or institution. Charges against the fifth suspect, Mahmoud Najm were dropped.
The suspects’ right to a defence is reserved, however as they did not submit to the process, Italian lawyers were assigned to their defence.
Investigations for the murder of the Italian doctorate student had lasted for at least four years, straining Egyptian and Italian diplomatic relations.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian Public Prosecution noted its appreciation of the Italian investigators and its understanding of their conclusions, but added that it has reservations concerning these conclusions. It said that the Italian conclusion lacked sufficient evidence, adding instead that its own investigations had revealed the involvement of a criminal gang.
The Egyptian Public Prosecution further asserts that the killer remains unknown and that it will continue to cooperate and exchange information with the Italians.
Regeni, a student at the University of Cambridge, went missing on January 25th, 2016. His body was found mutilated on February 3rd of the same year in a ditch on the Cairo-Alexandria highway. The doctoral student was reportedly conducting research on independent trade unions in Egypt.
In 2017, Regeni’s family appealed to Pope Francis to raise Regini’s case with Egypt’s once more. The case has sparked international attention on human rights violations in Egypt, particularly shifting the topic of surveillance from that of Egyptians to foreigners.