Egypt hands key documents to Italy over Regeni killing

Egypt hands key documents to Italy over Regeni killing

Egyptian prosecutors have given Italian investigators files and records requested by Rome in the unsolved murder of doctoral student Giulio Regeni that has severely strained relations between the two countries, state-run daily Al-Ahram said on Thursday.

"Egyptian investigators gave their Italian counterparts the first batch of documents requests by Rome prosecutors," said a joint statement by Egyptian and Italian prosecutors at the end of a two-day visit to Cairo by Rome's assistant pubilc prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco.

The statement also said an agreement would be signed later this month on the retrieval of footage from security cameras at a Cairo metro station where Regeni is believed to have been abducted on 25 January last year.

Egypt will hand over security camera footage once the data is recovered, Al-Ahram cited the country's preecutor-general Nabil Sadek as telling Colaiocco and other members of the Italian delegation to Cairo.

The two sides carried out "a thorough evaluation of all pending questions in the investigation and exchanged information" during their meetings, said the joint statement quoted by Al-Ahram.

The prosecutors reaffirmed their shared determination to continue cooperating on bringing to justice those responsible for Regeni's kidnap, torture and murder, the statement read.

Egypt previously rejected as "unconstitutional" a request by Italy to retrieve thousands of phone records from the areas where Regeni lived, disappeared and the area of Cairo's western outskirts were his body was found.

Italy withdrew its ambassador to Egypt over its stilted investigation of 28-year-old Regeni's brutal murder, which Italian politicians, experts and officials widely believe was the work of state actors - despite staunch denials by Egypt's president Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi and his government.

Regeni, a PhD student at Cambridge University disappeared in Cairo on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that overthrew longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak amid a security crackdown.

Ten days later, Regeni's battered, disfigured body was found dumped on the Cairo-Alexandria highway, bearing signs of torture. He had been researching street vendor trade unions in Egypt and had published articles critical of the government, writing under a pseudonym.

Police officials at first suggested Regeni might have died in a road accident or have been killed by a criminal gang, and have issued scant information about their investigation. An Italian autopsy showed that Regeni’s body was covered with cuts and his bones were broken, indicating he had been hit with “fists, batons and hammers”.

A letter "X" was carved on his forehead and hand, according to the autopsy report cited by Italian media. Regeni's mother said his corpse was so badly disfigured that she was only able to recognise her son from the tip of his nose.

Paola Regeni urged Pope Francis to bring up her son's unsolved murder with Sisi during the pontiff's visit to Cairo in late April.

Colaiocco and his team have now had six meetings with Egyptian officials on the Regeni probe, al-Ahram said.

The previous meeting between the two sides took place when Sadek visited Rome in December to brief Italian prosecutors on progress in the investigation.