Italian prosecutors in Egypt for inquiry into student's murder

Rome Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone and his team met with Egypt's top prosecutor Nabil Sadek on Monday as part of the ongoing inquiry into the brutal killing of Italy-born doctoral student Giulio Regeni in Cairo more than a month ago, the state-run Al-Ahram online reported.

The prosecutors issued a joint statement after the meeting that affirmed "the continuation and development of direct cooperation to stand on the facts of the case."

The statement went on to say that Italy had offered to assist with the investigation, and that Egyptian police would soon meet with Italian investigators in Rome.

Al-Ahram online also reported Monday that Giza prosecutors ordered a review of surveillance camera footage taken near the Italian consulate in Cairo to determine the identity of a person who allegedly fought with Regeni a day before his disappearance.

The 28-year-old Regeni, who moved to Cairo in September to conduct research for Cambridge University on Egypt's trade union movement, disappeared on January 25 and was found dead on February 3.

Italian officials said Regeni's body showed clear signs of torture, fueling suggestions he was kidnapped and murdered by Egyptian security forces for having links with opposition groups.

The date he went missing coincided with the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime dictator Hosny Mubarak and was marked by extreme security measures to prevent anti-government protests.

Responding to protests from Rome, Egypt last month allowed a team of Italian investigators to travel to Cairo, but they have complained about being kept in the dark by local counterparts.

"I think it is a very important opportunity to step up cooperation on the brutal and tragic murder of our researcher," Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said ahead of the Italian prosecutor's Cairo visit.

"So far cooperation [from Egyptian authorities] has not been sufficient," Gentiloni said in Brussels.

Egypt's human rights record under President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, a former army chief, has come under renewed international criticism because of the allegations.

Last week, the European Parliament said Regeni's death "occurred within a context of torture, death in custody and enforced disappearances across Egypt in recent years."

Egypt has denied any involvement of state authorities in the murder. Its officials first blamed Regeni's death on a road accident. They later suggested that he was killed in an unspecified act of vengeance.

Last update: Tue, 15/03/2016 - 11:49

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