Italy’s ambassador to Egypt recalled over student death row

ROME, Italy recalled its ambassador to Egypt after an investigation into the torture and murder of an Italian student in Cairo yielded no new information.


Maurizio Massari was recalled last week to protest Egyptian reluctance to shed new light on the death of Giulio Regeni, a Cambridge University doctoral student researching Egyptian labor unions. He disappeared on Jan. 25, the day of a heavy police presence in Cairo and the fifth anniversary of the Tahir Square protests which ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Regeni’s body, beaten, mutilated, stabbed and burned, was found in a Cairo suburb on Feb. 3. Evidence of torture, including electric shocks, was found on his body.

Egyptian foreign ministry authorities claimed he was the victim of a road accident, an argument between lovers and a botched autopsy.

Most recently, Egyptian authorities said he was killed by a gang of criminals who impersonated police officers, but gang members were shot to death by Egyptian police before they could be arrested. Each of the scenarios have been rejected by the Italian foreign ministry, which threatened unspecified “immediate and proportional measures” if Egyptian investigators failed to release solid information on the case.

A friend of Regeni, who asked for anonymity, said, “What we know for sure is that Giulio was arrested by a number of police officers … when he was walking from his home to a nearby metro station to meet another friend downtown Cairo. Autopsy showed that his body was tortured to death in the same way many Egyptian dissidents usually face,” the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

A two-day meeting in Rome between Egyptian and Italian authorities failed to provide a breakthrough.

“We won’t be discussing any facts because investigations are still ongoing. According to the law, investigations should be kept in secrecy until the probe is officially concluded,” Mustafa Soliman, a deputy prosecutor and member of the Egyptian delegation, said.