President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Wednesday that the investigation into the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo was being conducted with the "utmost transparency," and blamed some Egyptians he said had spread “lies” about the case.
In a nationally televised speech, El-Sisi blamed "evil" people in Egypt for "lie- and allegation-mongering" about the case and embarrasing Egypt internationally.
"We have done that to ourselves and put Egypt in trouble," El-Sisi said, in reference to accusations the country's security forces were involved in the PhD student's murder.
Regeni, who was in Cairo conducting research on independent trade unions, went missing on 25 January. His body was found, bearing signs of severe torture, by a roadside on the outskirts of the capital nine days later.
The case has strained ties between Cairo and Rome, otherwise close allies, prompting Italy last week to recall its ambassador to Egypt for consultations, after Egypt refused to share evidence deemed relevant to the case. Egyptian prosecutors said the Italian request for a large volume of call logs was "illegal and unconstitutional."
In his address, El-Sisi stressed that Cairo enjoys "special relations" with the Italians, emphasising that "Rome was quick to back Egypt following the 30 June revolution."
El-Sisi said the involvement of the country's judiciary in the investigation of Regeni's murder gives the process credibility.
"And you still do not believe?" he asked rhetorically.
He expressed his condolences to Regeni's family.
The Egyptian president urged the media to be more cautious about what they publish, describing media handling of the issue as "scary" and saying that relying on social media as a source of information in relation to such issues is "very dangerous."
Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied claims that security forces were involved in Regeni's murder.