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Italy votes to halt aviation supplies to Egypt over student death

Giulio Regeni was last seen by his friends on 25 January 2016. His body, which showed signs of torture, was found in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital 3 February

Reuters , Thursday 30 Jun 2016
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Giulio Regeni (Photo:Facebook)
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The Italian Senate voted Wednesday to halt supplies to Egypt of spare parts for F16 warplanes in protest against the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni earlier this year.

Italy has repeatedly complained that Egyptian authorities have not cooperated enough in investigations find those responsible for the 28-year-old student's death, and in April it recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations.

However, Wednesday's vote in the Italian Senate marked the first commercial steps taken against Cairo. After a heated debate, the upper house of the Italian parliament passed the so-called "Regeni amendment" by 159 to 55.

Regeni, who was doing postgraduate research on Egyptian trade unions, was last seen by his friends 25 January. His body, which showed signs of torture, was found in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital 3 February. 

Nicola Latorre, a senator from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party, said the vote was aimed at putting pressure on Egypt to help "the truth emerge more quickly" on the killing.

Centre-right lawmakers warned that it would hurt relations with "an ally in the fight against terrorism." 

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has insisted that the investigation into the murder of Regeni in Cairo is being conducted with the "utmost transparency," with Egyptian officials repeatedly denying speculation that security forces were involved in the murder.

In May, Italy appointed Giampaolo Cantini as its new ambassador to Cairo, but said its decision to recall its ambassador, made in April, has not changed.

This story has been edited by Ahram Online.

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