Italy sends investigators to Egypt to work with police on Regeni's death

Friday 05-02-2016 05:30 PM
Italy sends investigators to Egypt to work with police on Regeni's death

CAIRO, Feb 5 (Aswat Masriya) – Italy has sent out a team of investigators to collaborate with Egyptian police on the death of Italian national Giulio Regeni, the Italian national public broadcaster RAI said Friday.

RAI cited Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano, who also expressed his trust in Egypt's “full cooperation” on Regeni's case.

According to Italian news agencies including RAI and ANSA a team of investigators comprising seven men from Italian police and Interpol will take part in the investigation.

Regeni, a 28-year-old Italian Ph.D. student in Cambridge University, disappeared on Jan. 25, on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 Uprising that toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Regeni was a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo, and conducted research on independent trade unions. 

Ten days after his disappearance, the Italian foreign ministry announced that Regeni was "likely dead," before the news was confirmed the next morning. 

Regeni’s body was found Wednesday night along the side of the Cairo-Alexandria desert road, marred by torture marks and bruises in different places, according to the chief prosecutor for accidents in Egypt's South Giza.

The Italian Foreign Ministry summoned Egypt’s ambassador to Italy Amr Mostafa Kamal Helmy to express "shock" over the “tragic death," the ministry said in an official statement on its website on Thursday.

Italy demanded an immediate joint investigation to be held with the participation of Italian experts and demanded the rapid repatriation of Regeni’s body to Italy.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi consoled Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in a phone call on Thursday. Sisi stressed that Egyptian authorities will continue their efforts to unravel the "mystery" behind Regeni’s death, reported state-run MENA news agency.

On Thursday, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), which aims to bring together scholars and educators interested in the study of the region, expressed "outrage" at news of Regeni's "apparent torture and murder," in a letter addressed to Sisi and Egypt's interior and foreign ministers. 

“Indeed, Regeni’s murder, far from an aberration, is in fact a predictable outcome of the progression of state repression of academics and students,” MESA's letter read. 

The letter also stated that MESA had addressed Egyptian authorities in the past months to express their "deep concern" on a number of what they said were "violations of academic freedom and freedom of expression," including denying researchers entry to the country, state interference in university governance, student dismissals and expulsions, and "the sentencing of academics to death."

The association demanded that the Egyptian government embark on a "full and impartial investigation" on Regeni's death, and "the arrest and prosecution of those responsible."

"Even were this case an isolated incident, it would demand a thorough investigation to identify those responsible and bring them to justice," MESA said

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