Secret service members suspected of killing researcher
Publish date: 03 December 2018
Issue Number: 802
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Authorities are set to open an investigation against seven Egyptian secret service members related to the torture and murder of an Italian researcher in January 2016. A report on the News24 site notes that prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco is expected to formally launch a kidnapping investigation against the suspects this week. Italy has been pressing Cairo to identify and prosecute those responsible for the torture and killing of Guilio Regeni, a 28-year-old graduate student who had come to the attention of Egyptian officials through his work researching labour unions. The Irish Times reports that Regeni went missing on 25 January, the anniversary of the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. He was abducted and tortured for several days before his body was left on a desert highway north of Cairo. When Regeni’s parents held a news conference in the Italian Senate recently, they decided not to hand out photographs of his mutilated body. ‘You have no idea of what they did to him, of the evil on that face. I was looking at all the evil of the world,’ said his mother Paola Deffendi.
In another development, Italy's Foreign Ministry has formally summoned the Egyptian ambassador to Rome to prompt authorities in Cairo to ‘act rapidly’ in investigating the murder. Pressure is mounting on Egypt which voiced regret over Italy's lower house decision to break parliamentary ties. A report on the Star Tribune site notes that the decision by Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi follows a recent meeting between Egyptian and Italian prosecutors, which his office said in a statement had caused ‘worry’ to ripple through Rome over the prolonged investigation. Moavero relayed Italy's concerns and the need to see ‘concrete’ developments in the protracted investigation. Meanwhile, Egypt's ambassador to Rome offered assurances of his country's willingness to continue co-operation. Italian media is also reporting that prosecutors in Rome are set to launch an investigation into the Egyptian secret service members they suspect were involved in Regeni's abduction and murder.