Egypt says it refused Italy's request to send phone records of Egyptians

Saturday 09-04-2016 07:46 PM

Paola Regeni, mother of Giulio Regeni, during a news conference at the upper house of parliament in Rome, Italy, Mar 29, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

CAIRO, Apr 9 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt refused a request from Italy to dispatch phone records of Egyptians residing in areas where Italian student Giulio Regeni resided, disappeared and was  found dead, Egypt's assistant prosecutor general said on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Italian researcher and Ph.D student went missing in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2016, which marked the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

Ten days later, Regeni's body was found, bearing signs of torture, in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo.

The prosecutor general's assistant Mostafa Soliman said in a press conference aired live on Egyptian television that Italian investigators requested phone records of Egyptians residing in three locations related to the investigation into the case.

But Egypt refused to provide this information as it contradicts articles in the Egyptian constitution which govern the right to privacy and confidentiality in means of communications.

The information Italy requested would have included the phone records of up to one million people, Soliman said.

At the beginning of the press conference, Soliman made it clear that he will tackle only the recent meeting between Egyptian and Italian investigators in Rome and that he will not discuss the ongoing investigation.

Italy recalled its ambassador to Egypt Maurizio Massari on Friday for consultations with the Italian government over Regeni's murder. Egypt's cooperation in the case has been heavily scrutinized by Italian media.  

The Italian news agency ANSA reported that the 2,000-page dossier presented by  the Egyptian delegation on the case is "still incomplete" and lacks fundamental elements that Italy has been requesting  for over a month, citing judicial sources.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Friday that Italy will stop only after the truth is revealed.

Though it is not yet clear who was behind the torture and death of the young Italian student, several Italian media outlets blamed Egypt's interior ministry.

The interior ministry, however, has denied any responsibility for the incident and said last month that it killed four alleged gang members, who might have been linked to the death of Regeni.

In a statement then, the ministry said that the gang specialised in "impersonating police officers and kidnapping foreigners," and that a  bag was found in the apartment of a gang member's relative containing Regeni’s student cards and a brown wallet with his passport in it.

Italy threatened last week that it is ready to take "immediate and proportionate" measures against Egypt in the event the truth was not revealed.

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