Egypt Watch

Italian court demands the government pursue Regeni’s murderers

The Italian news agency, ANSA, has said that an Italian judge called on his country’s government to intervene in the case in which four Egyptian officers in the national security sector are accused of involvement in the disappearance and murder of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni in 2016.

The Rome Criminal Court, to which the defendants were referred for trial in absentia, decided in October 2021 not to continue the trial because it could not confirm that the defendants had been formally notified of the indictment. Consequently, it returned the case to a pre-trial judge, who decided to send it to the Italian government to check whether it had received a response from the Egyptian government regarding the defendants’ appearance before the court.

According to Italian newspapers, a special investigation team from the Italian National Gendarmerie will lead the investigation to find out the addresses of the accused. According to Italian law, defendants must be notified prior to trial of the conclusion of investigations of the charges against them, and all available evidence against them.

Reuters quoted Italian judicial sources as confirming that the Egyptian authorities did not cooperate with them and did not provide the Italian investigation authorities with the addresses of any of the four accused.

The Italian prosecutor announced in April 2021 that it had received testimonies from the Egyptian authorities’ which revealed they were planning to mislead the ongoing investigations into Regeni’s murder, by accusing five citizens, who were later killed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, of killing the Italian student. Last December, an Italian parliamentary committee, in which all parties participated, officially accused the Egyptian security services of being responsible for Regeni’s death.

According to the committee’s report, the Public Prosecution in Rome showed that the sovereign security services in Egypt are directly responsible for the arrest, torture, and murder of Regeni, especially the National Security Agency, specifically the officers: Major General Tariq Saber, Colonels Asser Kamel and Hossam Helmy, and Major Ibrahim Abdel Aal.

Regeni was in Cairo in 2016 to conduct academic field research on Egyptian street vendors. He disappeared on January 25 and his body was found on the side of a road on February 3. An autopsy later revealed several clear signs of brutal torture.