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Egypt foreign ministry criticises EU parliament's 'undocumented' claims of rights abuses

Ahram Online , Friday 11 Mar 2016
Ahmed Abu Zeid
Ahmed Abu Zeid, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt (Photo: Courtsey of Ahmed Abu Zeid official twitter account)
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The Egyptian foreign ministry rejected Thursday's European Parliament resolution on the death of Giulio Regeni which criticised the human rights situation in the country, describing it as based on "undocumented media reports."

The resolution called on Egypt to enable a "swift, transparent and impartial joint investigation" into the murder of the Italian student, and said that the death occured in a context of "torture, death in custody and enforced disappearances across Egypt in recent years."

"It is unfortunate that ancient legislative institutions such as the European Parliament deal with accusations from undocumented media reports concerning Regeni's murder as evidence to build resolutions upon," ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement on Friday.

"Involving Regeni's case in a resolution which tackles the human rights records in Egypt is rejected, especially as the investigations are still being conducted by the Egyptian authorities in cooperation with their Italian counterparts," he added.  

On Thursday, the European Parliament released a resolution calling on Cairo to "provide their Italian counterparts with all the documents and information necessary to enable a swift, transparent and impartial joint investigation and Egyptian authorities have to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice as soon as possible."

The case of Regeni dates back to last month when his body was found by a Cairo highway with signs of torture.

Italian officials said that an autopsy conducted in Italy showed that the 28-year-old PhD student, who went missing on 225 January, was subject to "something inhuman, something animal."

Abu Zeid stated that "it has been proved by the Egyptian authorities that great majority of the forced disappearance case are suspects who are standing documented trials."

"The Egyptian government respects and considers human rights values, and torture is a crime which is stated in Egypt's constitution," he said.

"I hoped that the resolution would tackle the reaffirming of the strategic Egyptian-European relations and support Egypt's efforts in the fight against terrorism and support economic partnership between the European Union and Egypt, rather than issuing a resolution which suspects or undermines this relationship," he added. 

Some Egyptian MPs have also criticised the EU resolution; Bahaa El-Din Abu Shoqa, head of the Wafd Party's parliamentary committee, and Salah Hassablah, a member of the In Support of Egypt majority bloc, both expressed concerns to Al-Ahram newspaper.

"The resolution is unrealistic as it pre-empts the investigations conducted by the specialised authorities," Abu Shoqa told Al-Ahram.

"It has not yet been proved that there is a dereliction from the Egyptian government, the investigations are still ongoing, and Egypt's judiciary will never cover up for anyone," he added.

Hassablah echoed his concerns, adding that Egypt knows that "hiding the evidence [around Regeni's death] will not be useful to it."
 

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