Egypt is seeking to delay the completion of investigations into the killing of the Italian PhD researcher, Giulio Regeni, who was murdered in Cairo in early 2016, Egyptian diplomatic sources reported yesterday.
The sources told local media that Egypt’s public prosecution had asked its Italian counterpart “a text of the testimony recently made by an African officer, who confessed that a senior Egyptian police officer was involved in Regeni’s murder.”
“The Egyptian request is an attempt to delay the case investigation and to waste time,” the sources pointed out, adding that Rome was not allowed to interrogate Egyptian officers on its soil without a particular order from the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Italy’s public prosecution recently said it had obtained “a documented information” about the Egyptian officer’s embroilment in Regeni’s killing as well as “new details about the incident.” It noted that the information was handed by “a foreign officer during a friendly chat between him and the implicated Egyptian officer.”
“The officer had confessed that police officers who killed Regeni were not intending to do so, but were rather intimidating him,” the prosecution noted. It explained that the Egyptian authorities had thought Regeni was “spying for the British intelligence.”
In December, the Egyptian prosecutor rejected a request by Rome to treat several Egyptian policemen as “suspects” in the case.
Rome’s chief prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone, accuses Egyptian interior ministry’s senior officers, including Tarek Saber, Hisham Helmi, Atheer Kamal, Magdy Sherif and Mohamed Negm, of “kidnapping and murdering Regeni.” Egypt has repeatedly denied its security forces’ involvement in Regeni’s killing.
Regeni, a 28-year-old doctorate student at Cambridge University, disappeared in January 2016 before his body was found in early February 2016 on a road north of Cairo bearing signs of torture. After his body was transferred to Rome, an Italian autopsy of his dead body showed that he was killed after being struck at the bottom of his skull and injured with several fractures all over his body.
The Egyptian authorities initially said that Regeni died in a traffic accident, but later said a criminal gang killed him that the police officers managed to smash.
The case has dramatically affected relations between the two countries after Rome accused the Egyptian authorities of “failing to cooperate adequately in the investigation.”