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Italy: PM and FM called as witnesses in Giulio Regeni case

February 15, 2023 at 11:37 am

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

Italy’s prime minister and foreign minister have been called as witnesses in the case of Giulio Regeni, which remains unresolved seven years after the Cambridge University student’s body was found in Cairo.

Giorgia Meloni and Antonio Tajani have both said that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has now shown willingness to collaborate with Italy on the case.

Giulio Regeni - Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

Giulio Regeni – Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

Meloni met Al-Sisi at the COP27 summit in Egypt last year where they discussed the Regeni case.

Regeni’s parents’ lawyer, Alessandra Ballerini, has called Meloni and Tajani to report to a preliminary hearings judge about Al-Sisi’s asserted willingness to collaborate, reports ANSA.

A previous trial against four suspects, who are Egyptian security officers, was suspended in October 2021 following concerns that it was not clear whether the officials were formally aware they were charged in the 2016 abduction, torture and killing of Regeni.

Under Italian law, prosecutors must notify defendants that they have been indicted, however, Egyptian authorities would not pass on the addresses of the four security officials.

A year before that Egypt had announced it was temporarily closing its investigation into Regeni’s murder, saying that a gang was responsible for his death in a story that was widely discredited.

This led to criticism that Egypt was stalling over the investigation. Repeated promises to collaborate with Italian authorities have never been followed through on.

READ: Egypt increased death sentences in 2022, says rights group

Regeni was in Cairo to carry out research into labour unions when he went missing and his body was found by the side of the road with signs of severe torture.

In October last year it was announced that the trial against the four security agents may go ahead after a change to Italy’s legal code meant that letters notifying defendants could be posted to their places of work.

Regeni’s parents have criticised Rome’s continued cooperation with Cairo on arms and energy deals given the country’s severe record of human rights violations. ANSA reports that they have said believing Al-Sisi will cooperate is naïve and self-serving.