Egypt Watch

Italian parliamentary panel denounces halt to Regeni trial

An Italian parliamentary panel from all parties has officially accused the Egyptian security apparatus of killing the Italian Ph.D. student Giulio Regeni in 2016 in Cairo.

According to a report issued by the panel, the investigation conducted by the public prosecution in Rome revealed that the Egyptian sovereign security apparatus is directly responsible for the arrest, torture and killing of Regeni.

The National Security Agency was specially mentioned and specifically the officers: Major General Tariq Saber, Colonel Aser Kamel Muhammad Ibrahim, Hussam Helmy, and Major Ibrahim Sharif Abdel Aal, who is accused of carrying out the killing according to the report and the public prosecution in Rome. The report mentioned that the halt of the trial procedures is purely a regulatory issue and doesn’t undermine any of the results concluded by prosecutors. “It is time to remind Egypt of its responsibilities as a state, which is very clear and significant regarding the fate of Giulio Regeni,” the panel said.

According to Reuters, a preliminary court must decide whether to make new efforts to locate the four officials and hand them their writs. It should be mentioned that the final report of the designated investigation committee came after two years and within less than two months of the decision made by an Italian court to suspend the trial in absentia of the four officers, indefinitely. The court found it impossible to carry out the litigation, as the law provides that the four men must be officially informed of the measures taken against them. And it should be mentioned that Egypt has always refused to reveal their addresses to the Italian prosecution.

According to the Italian investigators, the Egyptian General Intelligence agents tortured Regeni for several days through burning, kicking and punching him and using knives and sticks before killing him. The Italian prosecution, which closed the file of one of the five accused, thinks that Regeni died as a result of breathing problems due to the blows directed at him by Major Sharif.

At the end of December last year, the Egyptian public prosecution announced the investigation was temporarily closed due to not finding the offender. Also, it ruled out all the accusations of the Italian prosecution against the four security officers as it considered their accusation a result of false conclusions that cannot be accepted logically and doesn’t align with the principal law rules. This is considered unacceptable by the Italian Foreign Ministry. Then, in April, the Italian prosecution announced that it received new testimonies that revealed the intention of the Egyptian authorities to mislead the investigation. Egypt tried to blame five citizens for Regeni’s murder, who were later killed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, claiming that they had robbed and killed the Italian student. According to AFP, this case, which is not progressing at all, has led to the poisoning of relations between Egypt and Italy.

Regeni, the Italian Ph.D. researcher affiliated with the University of Cambridge, had been in Cairo in 2016 to conduct field academic research about the street vendors’ union, which is a delicate issue. Regeni was forcibly disappeared on January 25, and his body later found by the side of a road on February 3 with the post-mortem examination later revealing several clear signs of brutal torture.