Egypt rejects Italian request to name Egyptian security agents as suspects in Regeni killing

Ahram Online , Sunday 2 Dec 2018

Italian student Giulio Regeni (Photo: Ahram Online archive)

Egyptian prosecutors have rejected a request made by Italian prosecutors during a Wednesday meeting that a number of Egyptian national security agents be named as suspects in the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni in 2016.

In exclusive statements to MENA news agency, an Egyptian judicial source has said that Italy had made a similar request in December 2017, which Egyptian prosecutors had also turned down.

The source said that Egyptian prosecutors had refused the request in 2017 because the Egyptian legal system does not include the existence of a "suspect registry," and that there was not enough evidence to name the agents as suspects in the case.

The source added that the Italian prosecution considers the policemen suspects because they conducted surveillance on Regeni, which the source said falls under their normal work as security agents.

Egyptian and Italian authorities have been cooperating in the ongoing investigation into the murder of the Italian student, who was conducting research on independent trade unions when he went missing on the fifth anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 Revolution, before he was found dead 10 days later bearing signs of torture.

During the Wednesday meeting, Egyptian prosecutors asked that Italy investigate Regeni's entry into Egypt with a tourist visa, even though he was in the country to conduct academic research, which requires a student visa.

Following Wednesday's meeting, Italian News Agency ANSA said that Italian prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco will officially name the agents as suspects early next week.

On Friday, Roberto Fico, speaker of the Italian parliament, announced that Italy's parliament decided to suspend parliamentary relations with Egypt until the ongoing investigation into Regeni's death reaches a conclusive result.

Egypt's parliament released a statement later on Friday expressing regret over the statements by the Italian parliament speaker, which it described as "premature" and "unilateral."

Regeni's killing led to a brief diplomatic rift in 2016, when Italy's ambassador to Cairo was recalled in protest of Egypt's handling of the case. The ambassador returned in September 2017.

Egypt has repeatedly rejected suggestions that members of its security forces are behind the killing, and President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has promised to bring the killers to justice.

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