Egypt prosecution rules out police role in Italian student’s murder

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Cairo, Dec. 30, 2020 Egypt’s top prosecutor on Wednesday rejected Italian claims that five of the country’s policemen were involved in the torture and killing of an Italian student in Cairo in 2016.

In a statement, Egypt’s public prosecutor dismissed allegations by Italian investigators that four police officers and a policeman from the National Security Sector were involved in the death of Giulio Regeni, citing a lack of evidence.

The 28-year-old student had been in Egypt researching trade unions when he disappeared on Jan. 25, 2016.

Days later, his body was discovered, showing signs of torture.

Dismissing Italy’s version of events, the prosecutor said its claims were based on the fact that police had made inquiries about Regeni before his death after receiving a complaint about “suspicious behaviour.”

The victim’s behaviour, which did not fit with the Ph.D. research he was conducting, prompted security authorities to monitor him through measures that did not restrict his freedom or violate his private life, the prosecutor added.

Investigations revealed that, as part of his studies, he spoke to some street vendors about Egypt’s political system and assured them that they can change the situation since it had happened in other countries.

The statement added that the investigations stopped after it turned out that his actions did not constitute crimes against public security.

Though the prosecution offered no alternative murder suspect, the statement suggested the unknown killer had deliberately chosen Jan. 25 – the anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising – for the crime, seeking to frame police for the act.

The prosecution further accused unspecified parties hostile to Egypt and Italy of the crime, in a bid to drive a wedge between the two.

It added that a lawsuit cannot be filed at this point as the killer is still unknown and that authorities will work to identify the perpetrator.

The prosecution said the victim’s parents had collected his belongings from his residence in Cairo, especially his laptop, immediately after the announcement of his death and before the prosecution’s inspection.

It added that the Italian side had rejected requests to hand over the victim’s laptop to analyse its contents.

The prosecution said that it sought information from Cambridge University in Britain about Regeni’s studies, and from Kenya about testimony given by a witness who said he heard a discussion between an Egyptian police officer and another person about the incident.

However, neither provided the requested information, it said.

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