Egypt Watch

Italian judiciary accuses Egyptian authorities of deception and lack of cooperation

The Italian judiciary has decided to suspend the trial of four Egyptian security officers accused of kidnapping and killing Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni in 2016 due to the Egyptian authorities’ lack of cooperation in completing the process of officially notifying the accused of their indictment.

The Italian judiciary described the Egyptian authorities claiming that the four defendants could not be found as “completely disingenuous,” adding that the refusal to cooperate “has become a proven fact.” However, the judge asked the investigation team to continue to follow up on the addresses of the accused and set October 10 as the date for a new session. Also, the Italian Ministry of Justice has issued a memorandum in which it said that the Egyptian authorities showed no cooperation whatsoever in notifying the four defendants of their indictment. Italian law stipulates who must inform defendants of the completion of investigations, the charges against them, and all evidence presented before they are called to trial.

The Italian prosecutor had indicted Major General Tariq Saber, a senior official in the National Security Agency who retired in 2017, Major Magdy Sharif, who also served in the National Security Agency and was in charge of the police team that put Regeni under surveillance, Colonel Hisham Helmy, who served in a security post responsible for the area where Regeni lived in Cairo, and Colonel Aser Kamal, who was head of the Cairo Facility Investigations. Sharif was also charged with “conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.” The Egyptian Public Prosecution had dropped the charges and suspended investigations into the case.

Regeni was in Cairo in 2016 to conduct field research on independent trade unions. He disappeared from a metro station on January 25, and his body was found on a highway on the outskirts of the city on February 3. A subsequent autopsy revealed several clear signs of brutal torture.