Italy recalls ambassador to Egypt over student murder issue

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Rome, April 8 (IANS/AKI) Italy on Friday recalled its ambassador to Egypt after the failure of talks between Italian and Egyptian officials aimed at ending the deadlock over a probe into the murder of doctoral student Giulio Regeni.

“Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni has recalled to Rome for consultations its ambassador in Cairo, Maurizio Massari,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The decision follows developments in the investigation of the Regeni case, in particular the meetings held on Rome on Thursday and Friday between Italian and Egyptian investigative teams,” the statement added.

“These developments call for an urgent evaluation of the most opportune initiatives to be taken to re-launch a commitment to establishing the truth on Giulio Regeni’s barbaric killing.”

Egypt has denied claims by human rights groups that its security services were behind the killing of 28-year-old Regeni, whose mutilated, half-naked body bearing signs of torture was allegedly found in a ditch on Cairo’s western outskirts on February 3.

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It has made no arrests over the Cambridge University PhD student’s killing and its lines of enquiry so far, including an alleged kidnapping gang disguised in police uniforms, have met with disbelief in Italy.

Gentiloni on Tuesday threatened “immediate and proportional” measures against Egypt if Cairo did not speed up the probe, cooperate fully with Italian investigators and bring Regeni’s killers to justice, which Egypt’s government has pledged to do.

Regeni vanished in the Egyptian capital on January 25 during an unprecedented security crackdown on the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. He was in Egypt to research independent trade unions and had written articles critical its president and former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that were allegedly published in an Italian newspaper under a pseudonym.

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Citing an anonymous informant in Egypt’s intelligence services, Italian daily La Repubblica on Wednesday implicated Egypt’s leadership including its President al-Sisi in Regeni death at the hands of military intelligence services, saying they were aware of and approved his abduction.

The paper suggested that during their meetings in Rome, the Egyptian officials would try to pin the blame for Regeni’s murder on Giza’s police investigations chief Khaled Shalab, who according to the informant ordered Regeni’s kidnapping and murder.



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