Italy’s deputy public prosecutor Sergio Colaiocco arrived in Egypt on Tuesday and met with Egypt’s prosecutor general Nabil Sadek to discuss recent developments in the investigation into the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni earlier this year in Egypt.
In an official joint statement that was issued following the meeting, Egypt agreed to provide Italy with documents belonging to Regeni that were found on 24 March. The statement read that these documents were no longer needed by the Egyptian side of the investigation. The belongings included identification cards from Cambridge University and the American University in Cairo, along with Regeni’s other personal effects.
Colaiacco invited Sadek to visit Rome in December to follow up on the investigation, be updated with any results, and to visit Regeni’s family.
Regeni was a Cambridge scholar conducting a Ph.D research in Cairo on the nature of political and economic developments, and particularly on the conditions of labour unions in Egypt. He disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, according to his friends. On 3 February, his body was found dumped on the side of a road outside Cairo, showing signs of physical torture such as cigarettes burns and bruises.
According to Italy’s news agency ANSA, an Italian MP said that Italy had not voted for Egypt during the secret ballot conducted by United Nations (UN) general assembly for membership of the UN human rights council. He added that Regeni’s case was the reason for the decision. However, Egypt won a seat in the council with 173 votes in its favour. There was international condemnation over Egypt winning a seat due to several nations considering that Egypt was guilty of committing human rights violations.
In September, a joint statement was issued by both Egyptian and Italian prosecutors, in which Egypt acknowledged for the first time that Regeni had been traced by police for three days in January, prior to his disappearance.
Bilateral relations between Egypt and Italy have strained over the death of Regeni. In April, Italy recalled its ambassador to Egypt after it announced that Egypt had not fully cooperated with their investigation and had not provided substantial findings. Italy escalated the tension in June and decided to cut military aid to Egypt.
Before the decision to suspend military aid, the European parliament drafted a non-binding resolution that recommended cuts in military aid to Egypt following Regeni’s death. The parliament attributed the reason to the deteriorating human rights environment in Egypt. The Egyptian parliament issued a statement condemning the resolution, saying that they cannot link the death of Regeni to human rights disputes in Egypt and cited that ongoing investigations have yet to be concluded.