Egypt treating Italian student killing 'as if it were that of an Egyptian': Minister

Ahram Online , Monday 8 Feb 2016

Magdy Abdel Ghaffar
Egypt's interior minister Magdy Abdel Ghafffar (Photo: Al Ahram)

Egypt's interior minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar said at a press conference on Monday that Egypt is treating the case of an Italian citizen killed in Cairo last week “as if it were a case involving an Egyptian,” stressing that his ministry is doing its utmost to reveal the truth.

"We are still waiting for the forensics authority’s report to show whether [the victim] was tortured," said Abdel-Ghaffar, referring to reports that the victim, 28-year-old Giulio Regeni, had signs of torture on his body.

Last Wednesday, Regeni’s body was found on a highway in Egypt's Giza governorate after he had disappeared on the night of the anniversary of Egypt’s 25 January revolution.

The prosecutor-general said in an official statement that Regeni's body showed signs of torture, including cigarette burns.

Regeni, a PhD student at Cambridge University, had been in Egypt since September to conduct research on workers and labour rights.

Following the incident, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, assuring that law enforcement officials had been "instructed to continue their efforts to unravel the mystery surrounding the incident and follow up on all the circumstances surrounding it," according to a statement issued by the presidency on Thursday.

Abdel-Ghaffar also commented at the press conference on the Doctors Syndicate decision to shut down Cairo’s Matariya Teaching Hospital – with the exception of emergency units – over what doctors say was an assault by a group of policemen on doctors working at the hospital.

"It was just a fight and we insist on respecting all of Egypt's doctors," Abdel-Ghaffar said, adding that the policemen involved were referred to disciplinary trials.

Last Thursday, Egypt's Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek launched an investigation into the closure of the hospital to take legal action against those responsible for the suspension of the public service.

The prosecution described the closure as a "crime" that is punishable by law and is against the Egyptian constitution.

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