Four senior officers in the Egyptian security services are awaiting trial in absentia in an Italian court today, Thursday, on suspicion of their involvement in the disappearance. Graduate student Giulio Regeni and his murder in Cairo in 2016.
Italy hopes that the trial will shed light on a murder incident that shocked it and affected relations with Egypt. Which has been denying responsibility for the brutal murder of Regeni.
What did the Italian Foreign Minister say about the killing of Giulio Regeni?
And Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in a parliamentary investigation session into the case last month, “The search for the truth has been and will always be a primary goal in our relations with Egypt.”
He added, “A definitive picture (of what happened), in the context of a fair trial, will not return Julio to his parents, but he reaffirms the strength of justice, transparency and the rule of law in which he believed.”
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Regeni, who was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, disappeared in the Egyptian capital in January 2016. His body was found nearly a week later, and an autopsy showed that he had been severely beaten before his death.
Italian and Egyptian prosecutors investigated the case together, but the two sides differed and reached very different results.
These are the suspects in the kidnapping of the Italian student
Italian prosecutors say that Major Sherif Magdy of the Egyptian General Intelligence, Major General Tarek Saber, the former head of the National Security Agency, Police Colonel Hisham Helmy, and Colonel Aser Kamal, the former head of Cairo’s escorts investigations are responsible for the kidnapping of Regeni.
They said Sharif was also charged with “conspiracy to commit murder with an aggravating element”.
The suspects have not publicly responded to the accusations, and police and officials in Egypt have repeatedly denied any involvement in Regeni’s disappearance and murder.
Defense lawyers appointed by the court say the trial would not have taken place because it is not certain that any of the suspects knew of its procedures. However, a judge dismissed their objection at a preliminary hearing in May, saying that news of the investigation would reach them anyway.
Regeni was researching independent trade unions in Egypt for his PhD thesis. People close to him say he was also interested in discussing the domination of the state and the army over the Egyptian economy. The two issues are particularly sensitive in Egypt.
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Prosecutors say they have evidence that Sharif assigned informants to monitor Regeni and eventually arrest him. The indictment says that Sharif and other Egyptian officials, whom she did not disclose, tortured the Italian student for several days, causing him “severe bodily harm.”
The Egyptian authorities initially said that Regeni had died in a road accident, before saying later that a gang had kidnapped him and that the police arrested his members later and killed them.
It is not yet clear how long the trial will continue. The Italian government says it will request the extradition of anyone convicted in the case.
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