Italian prosecutors said Wednesday they will not take into consideration anonymous e-mails allegedly sent to and published by Italian daily La Repubblica, according to ANSA, stating the claims in the emails had “no relevance” and were “full of inaccuracies”.
Emails leaked by Italian newspaper La Repubblica implicate the top executive authorities in Egypt, including the president, in covering up the details of Guilio Regeni’s murder.
The newspaper has claimed that Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni was subjected to repeated torture while being held in custody by security officials for refusing to be questioned without an embassy representative.
La Repubblica reported that, as things got out of control which resulted in the student’s death, a cover up was prepared by the highest authorities, under the management of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
“[This is] a story that leads right to the heart of the Egyptians’ civil and military security apparatus, the Giza police, the Interior Ministry, the Presidency,” read the article run on La Repubblica’s website Wednesday.
The story directly implicates Al-Sisi, the National Security Apparatus, military intelligence, and other top officials in attempts to question Regeni and, more importantly, cover up his death by inventing a criminal story to explain his murder.
None of the sources behind the claims were identified in the report, referring only to “emails in Arabic acquired by Rome prosecutors that could only have been written by someone very knowledgeable”.
The leak coincidences with the arrival of a delegation of Egyptian prosecutors and police officers in Rome, with the aim of presenting the latest developments in the findings on the Regeni case.
La Repubblica stated that, in spite of the anonymity of the source, the account is credible, as the source revealed three details regarding the torture inflicted on Regeni that are only known to Italian investigators.
Regeni was reportedly arrested on 25 January upon the order of Khaled Shalaby, head of the Giza investigations department. Nearly two days later, he was referred to National Security head Mohamed Sarawy, following an order from Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar.
Following this, he was transferred into the hands of the military, following an order by the senior presidential adviser for security, Ahmed Gamal Al-Din.
From there, he was transported to a hospital in failed attempts to revive him, then to the mortuary. “The decision [to cover up for his murder] is then made at a meeting between Al-Sisi, the Interior Minister [Magdy Abdel Ghaffar], the heads of the two secret services, and the national security advisor to the president Fayza Abul Naja,” La Repubblica reported.
The report comes amid escalating media criticism of Egyptian authorities, and the absence of a response from the Egyptian government or officials, with the exception of a Tuesday statement by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
In the statement, Shoukry criticised Italy’s escalation and diatribe, saying “it contributes to the complication of the case”.
Most details of the case have come to the public from Italian media, despite being fraught with uncertainty due to mostly anonymous sources. This is amid official criticism from Italian authorities over Egypt’s lack of cooperation and tardiness in providing transparent investigations.
Regeni, whose body was found in Egypt on 3 February in a ditch alongside the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, was reported to have signs of torture on his body, allegedly from being subject to such practices for several days following his disappearance, according to his family.
Once Regeni’s body was handed over to Italy, their autopsy results indicated signs of inhumane, “animal-like” violence, including pulled out nails and cigarette burns on his body.
The former head of the then-State Security apparatus, Fouad Allam, claimed to have “never heard” of such torture practices, even during his time under president Anwar Sadat, when thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were imprisoned.
Commenting to local TV channel Al-Asema on Tuesday, Allam said media leaks could not be fully trusted, adding that the reported methods of torture were “scientifically, technically and security-wise unbelievable”.
Unconfirmed media reports have also quoted George Kelada, head of the Egyptian Association in Italy, as saying there could be more to leak as Italian investigators are in possession of videos related to the torture of Regeni.