Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday, in response to an open letter by international academics condemning the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni, that it is "premature" to draw conclusions on his death.
The body of PhD student Giulio Regeni, who was living in Cairo and conducting research on Egyptian trade union movements, was found with signs of torture by a roadside on the outskirts of Cairo last week after he disappeared in the capital on 25 January.
Over 4,600 academics from 90 countries signed the open letter condemning Regeni’s torture and killing, demanding an independent probe into his murder.
The letter also demands investigations into other "instances of forced disappearances, cases of torture and deaths in detention during January and February this year...in order that those responsible for these crimes can be identified and brought to justice," the letter, published by The Guardian on Monday, read.
"It's premature to pass judgment about the official criminal investigations," ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in response to the letter.
"Attempts to level accusations at the Egyptian authorities without evidence could backfire," he warned.
Following an initial autopsy performed in Egypt, a second autopsy conducted in Italy revealed that the 28-year-old was subject to "something inhuman, something animal,” Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told Sky News 24 on Sunday.
The spokesman expressed his "full rejection" of allegations of torture, slamming the claims as "rumours and deliberate distortions" of facts.
He added that Egypt's authorities are highly committed to hold those convicted of torture to justice, while stressing that these are "individual incidents."
He said recent reports by the country's semi-official human rights body have shown claims about disappearances to be "unfounded."