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Italian media releases different version of Regeni's conversation with vendor

Mostafa Ali , Monday 23 Jan 2017
Regeni
Italy's police releases different version of same Regeni's conversation with vendor
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Italian media outlets released Monday afternoon a different version of the 'exclusive' video Egypt's state TV aired on Monday morning showing murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni in a conversation with a representative of a street vendors' union in the period leading up to his disappearance on 25 January 2016.

The Egypt State TV's three minutes and 46 seconds video was reportedly recorded by the representative of the Independent Vendors Union Mohamed Abdallah.

It shows Abdallah asking Regeni to help him secure funds by an unnamed British foundation for a personal emergency while Regeni explains why he could not do so.

It is not clear where and when the video released by state TV was shot.

The Italian-released version of the video, which was carried by media outlets and runs four minutes and 29 seconds, covers the same topic of conversation but includes segments of the conversation left out or edited in a different timeline in the Egyptian version.

"You may think that I have a huge say but in reality I have no power in the program in Britain; I do not know the people inside the institution responsible for money issues, Regeni explains to Abdallah.

"What shall I do? Shall I just write an email saying we need the money now because 25 January [revolution anniversary] is after two weeks!"

"Is it possible?" Abdallah asks.

Regeni answers that it was not possible. "It is unprofessional for me," he says.

"Can it be done just between the two of us and without their knowledge?" Abdallah suggests.

"I do not have any power.  I am a foreigner who is conducting a research in Egypt; for me what is important is my research project. I want your vendors union to get the money in an official way as mandated by the British. I do not want anything else."

"I hope the Egyptian Centre wants the same thing," Regini adds.

The identity of the British foundation or the Egyptian Centre is not clear from the dealogue.

The money won't be much in any case, Regeni adds.

"Are we going to use the money in projects for kiosks for street vendors or are we going to use it for freedom projects?" asks Abdallah.

"Money for political projects is a hard thing now, Regeni replies.

Egypt state TV released the Regini video less than 24 hours after Egypt's General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek agreed on Sunday to a request from Italy to allow Italian experts to take part in the retrieval of CCTV footage, which could reveal the circumstances surrounding Regeni's murder in early 2016.

Giulio Regeni, a PhD student at Cambridge University, had been in Cairo conducting research on independent trade unions for several weeks, when he went missing on 25 January 2016, the fifth anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 Revolution.

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera on Monday quoted Italian investigators as saying on the video was shot - allegedly at the request of Egyptian security - using a micro-camera placed on a button worn by Abdallah during a meeting with Regeni on 6 January 2016.

The newspaper added that the Italian investigators obtained the complete version of the video-taped conversation, which runs for a total of 1 hour and 55 minutes, on 6 December 2016 from Egyptian authorities.

The uncertainties surrounding the murder of Regeni and the length of the investigation carried out by Egyptian authorities into his case has strained relationships between Cairo and Rome.

Egypt has strongly denied accusations by some that Egyptian security forces were involved in Regeni's murder.

In recent months, Egyptian and Italian prosecutors have been cooperating closely in the investigation.

The CCTV footage to be retrieved is that captured by security cameras at Dokki Metro station, and which reportedly recorded the last images of the Italian student before his disappearance on 25 January, 2016.

According to security sources, Abdallah reported Regeni to authorities in early January.

Authorities placed the Italian student under surveillance for three days before suspending investigations into his activities.

In December, Egypt's Sadek visited Rome to discuss developments in the investigation, the fifth such meeting between Egyptian prosecutors and their Italian counterparts since the murder.

Sadek assured the parents of Regeni of Egypt's commitment to achieving justice in the case during his visit. 

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