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Italy parliamentary committee attempts to get Regeni's tutor to testify in upcoming trial

Protest in Italy on 25 January 2020 for Italian student Giulio Regeni who was murdered in Egypt [MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images]
Protest in Italy on 25 January 2020 for Italian student Giulio Regeni who was murdered in Egypt [MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images]

The Italian parliamentary committee which visited Cambridge, where murdered student Giulio Regeni was studying for his PhD, is trying to persuade his tutor Dr Maha Mahfouz Abdelrahman to testify over the nature of Regeni's studies.

Giulio Regeni - Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

Giulio Regeni – Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

Regeni was murdered in Egypt in early 2016 by Egyptian security officers after they accused him of being a spy. His body was found by the side of the road with visible marks of severe torture.

Regeni was researching independent trade unions in the country in the aftermath of the uprising, and was filmed by a trade union official who it was later revealed was an informer for the security services. A post-mortem examination showed he had been tortured before his death. His teeth were broken, he had multiple fractures to his shoulders, wrist, hands, and feet, and he was eventually killed by a blow to the neck.

In 2019 an eyewitness came forward and said that he overheard an Egyptian intelligence agent saying that the "Italian guy" had been beaten because he was a spy: "We thought he was an English spy, we took him, I went and after loading him in the car we had to beat him. I hit him in the face."

In 2017 the Italian Public Prosecution sent a formal petition to the UK to get permission to question his tutor after complaining that Dr Abdelrahman was not cooperating when she failed to show up, twice, for a summons before Italian investigators at a police station in Cambridge.

The Italian daily La Repubblica reported that Regeni was worried about his research into independent trade unions and may have felt pressured after a Skype chat between him and his mother revealed he was "going deeper into the subject" because "Maha insisted that I do it."

READ: Egypt will accept returned refugees in exchange for military, security incentives from Italy, sources say

An Egyptian legal source told Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that Dr Abdelrahman will likely cooperate this time and make the recordings.

The trial, in absentia, against four Egyptian security officers accused of kidnapping, torturing, and killing Regeni, will start on 14 October in Rome, more than five years after his body was discovered.

Egypt has consistently refused to cooperate, has closed the case, and said it will not extradite the suspects to Italy.

Italian authorities are under pressure to hold Egypt to account following Regeni's murder and not normalise relations, however for the second year in a row, Egypt has been named as one of the main buyers of weapons systems exported by Italian military companies, according to the Italian Network for Peace and Disarmament.

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