Italy recalls ambassador to Cairo for consultations over Regeni's murder

Ahram Online , Friday 8 Apr 2016

Egypt says it hadn't been notified officially about the recall

Guilio Regeni
Circulated photo on Social Media of Guilio Regeni

Italy recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations on Friday after two days of meetings between Italian and Egyptian investigators over the murder of an Italian PhD student whose body was found in Cairo in February.

Egyptian foreign ministry's spokesman, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said the ministry hadn't been notified officially about the recall, and did not know the reasons for the decision, "particularly as no statement has been issued yet regarding the results of the meeting between the Egyptian and Italian investigation teams looking into the case of the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni."

An Egyptian delegation headed to Rome on Wednesday to submit a 2000-page report to chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone on Cairo's investigation into the killing of Regeni.

Abu Zeid added the ministry is awaiting the return of the Egyptian team to Cairo to hear their evaluation about the results of the meetings, and what the Italian side would announce on the aftermath of the meetings being conducted in Rome for the last couple of days.

Following the recalling of ambassador Maurizio Massari, the Italian foreign ministry said the decision was made to allow for "an urgent evaluation" of what steps to take to "ascertain the truth about the barbaric murder of Giulio Regeni", according to a statement.

"Italy will stop only when it has the truth," Italian Prime Minister Renzi said on Facebook after the ambassador was recalled.

The 28-year-old Regeni vanished from the streets of Cairo on 25 January. His body was discovered in a ditch on the outskirts of the Cairo nine days later, showing signs of extensive torture.

Given the sensitive topic of Regeni's research – independent trade unions – his disappearance was quickly considered by some to be an instance of abduction by government agents, who human rights advocates blame for other cases of forced disappearance.

However, the interior ministry strongly denied any link with Regeni's death.

Last month Egyptian police said they had found the Italian's passport and other belongings in the possession of one of the families of a member of an alleged gang of kidnappers who robbed foreigners.

Police killed all four members of the alleged gang in a shoot out in late March.

Many Italian officials have publicly expressed scepticism towards the transparency of Cairo's investigation.

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