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Regeni’s murder awaits answers on 5 April - Daily News Egypt

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Regeni’s murder awaits answers on 5 April

Egypt provides full investigations in security delegation visit, Italy demands phone records of Regeni's friends

Italian investigators will ask for the phone records of 10 of Guilio Regeni’s friends and acquaintances from their Egyptian counterparts in a bilateral meeting scheduled to be held on Tuesday in which Egyptian investigations into the PhD student’s murder will be presented, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

An Egyptian security delegation will visit Italy on Tuesday to provide the Italian investigators with documents and information. This will include photos related to Regeni’s movements and meetings since his arrival in Cairo, as well as details of the investigations carried out after his disappearance, according to state-run newspaper Al-Akhbar.

The documents, provided by the Egyptian Interior Ministry, will include detailed information regarding Regeni’s meetings with labour syndicate representatives and workers, as well as testimonies from Regeni’s neighbours in the Dokki district.

The delegation will also provide Italy with information about the recently killed gang with whom Regeni’s personal belongings were found. This will cover the gang’s activities—allegedly robbery and fraud against foreigners living in Cairo—and official  statements issued by the Interior Ministry about how the gang was discovered by security forces.

On Saturday, Lila Marzouk, mother of Khalid Saeed, a young man who died in police custody in Alexandria in 2010, appeared in a video message to Regeni’s mother.

Marzouk expressed her condolences to Regeni’s mother and solidarity with her demands to reveal the truth of the student’s murder. The video was circulated across several social media outlets.

Regeni’s parents spoke with members of the Italian Senate on Tuesday. They claimed that their son was targeted by Egyptian security forces. Paola Regeni said: “I recognised Giulio [in the photos] by the tip of his nose. What happened is not an isolated case. We trust that there will be a strong response from the government.”

Regeni’s murder is considered one of the most controversial crimes against a foreigner in Egypt. The diplomatic relationship between Egypt and Italy has been wrought with tension since the discovery of his body.

The case dates back to 3 February when Regeni’s body was found on a ditch along the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, nine days after his disappearance on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January revolution.

Guilio Regeni had just turned 28. He was a PhD student at the University of Cambridge and had come to Cairo as a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

He was last known to be travelling to downtown Cairo via the Behouth metro station. His corpse showed physical signs of torture, such as cigarette burns and electrocution of the genitals.

According investigative reports by the Egyptian prosecution, published by Al-Akhbar, Regeni was living in an apartment situated in Dokki with two Egyptians and a Spaniard.

The investigation process

After nearly 66 days of investigation, the circumstances surrounding Regeni’s murder are still unclear. According to the state-run newspaper Al-Akhbar, investigations began by questioning Regeni’s friends, who said the student left his residence on 25 January to meet a friend downtown.

One of his flatmates, an Egyptian lawyer, notified the Dokki police station when Regeni did not return home. The police later called him in to the station to identify a corpse in the Zeinhom mortuary. It was Regeni.

One of Regeni’s friends, who holds a PhD in economics from the British University in Cairo, said during investigations that he agreed to meet Regeni in Bab El-Louq in downtown Cairo on 25 January to attend a birthday celebration for their friend. He received a phone call from Regeni that night, saying he would arrive in 25 minutes. When Regeni was late, he decided to go on to the celebration and wait for him there, but he did not come.

A minibus driver Khalid Emam found Regeni’s body in a ditch along the Cairo-Alexandria Desrt Road. During investigations, Emad said that while he was travelling to Alexandria in the minibus, the tyre went flat. When he went down to inspect the damage, he found a body in a ditch alongside the road. He immediately called the owner of the minibus, who in turn called a low-ranking police officer he knew and told him about the driver’s discovery. The officer informed the authorities.

After Regeni’s body was found, the Forensic Medicine Authority made a report of injuries found on Regeni’s body. However, the Egyptian prosecution decided to keep the report’s content a secret due to the investigation process.

The prosecution asked police to compile recordings of any CCTV cameras around Regeni’s residence to report his movements, especially after investigations indicated that Regeni’s mobile phone was turned off near where he lived, and that he was last seen on Sudan Street in the Giza governorate.

An alleged witness, an engineer named Mohamed Fawzy, came forward during the investigation process. He went to the prosecution to provide his testimony about Regeni’s murder.

Fawzy alleged that on the 24 January he was behind the Italian Consulate, when he saw a young man who met with another foreigner and a scuffle broke out between them. However, the prosecution’s investigations proved that Fawzy did not leave his residence on that day. The consulate’s cameras did not monitor any such dispute either.

Regeni’s belongings found

On 24 March, the Interior Ministry released a statement saying that security forces “succeeded in targeting” a criminal gang near the New Cairo area, which specialised in “impersonating policemen” for the purposes of kidnapping and robbing foreigners living in Egypt.

The ministry said all four members of the gang were killed in an exchange of fire with the police during their arrest.

In a subsequent statement, the ministry announced some of Regeni’s belongings were found in a flat in Qalyubia. The flat belongs the sister of the killed gang leader.

“A red duffel bag was found, containing a brown wallet, Regeni’s passport, his Cambridge University ID card, and a VISA card,” the official ministry statement said.

The ministry also said that the bag contained other items: another wallet, a sum of EGP 5,000, three sunglasses, and a women’s wristwatch.

Several media reports indicated that the killed gang is suspected to be involved in Regeni’s murder, but recently the New Cairo Prosecution denied the gang’s involvement in the murder. The prosecution said the criminal gang was involved in fraud schemes against foreigners, having defrauded an Italian citizen of $10,000.

Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, Mohamed Abdul Hady Allam, warned Egyptian officials of being “naive” in dealing with Regeni’s murder.

In an opinion article published on Sunday, Mohamed Allam said that diplomatic relations between Egypt and Italy may experience a setback as a result of how the Egyptian government is currently tackling Regeni’s case.

Egyptian officials responsible for the investigations are not treating this case seriously enough, he said, adding that  the state narrative about the media exaggeration of the case is “unreasonable”.

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