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Italy Considers Recalling Back the Legal Team Sent to Cairo Over Lack of Cooperation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People attend a memorial for Giulio.


People attend a memorial for Giulio.

Giulio Regeni, 28, vanished in January until his beaten and tortured body was later found in a ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital on Feb. 3. The incident has stirred outrage in Italy and stressed relations between Italy and Egypt, the two countries that share important strategic and economic interests, because of extensive speculation through media that Regeni was killed on the hands of either police or security services.

Thus a judicial source said on Wednesday that Italy is considering recalling a legal team sent last month to Cairo to investigate the murder of the Italian graduate student because Egyptian authorities are not cooperating.

The sad case has put a attention on alleged police brutality in Egypt, being a strategic ally of the United State in specific and other Western powers. However not only did Egypt deny any such suggestion, but also the Egyptian authorities invited Italian police to join the inquiry. But the judicial source stated that because they had not received any applicable evidence to work with, there thus was little point in keeping the team in Cairo. In particular, the investigators have not even received Regeni’s mobile phone records and cell data that would permit them to pinpoint Regeni’s movements before his Jan. 25 disappearance.

Regeni’s murder, who was studying Egypt’s independent labour unions and wrote critical articles about the government, continues to be followed closely by Italian media. On Wednesday, Milan officials suspended a banner from city hall reading “The Truth for Giulio Regeni”, in response to a campaign by human rights group Amnesty International. Other cities around the country started to follow suit.

On the other side, to call the legal team home would be a mutual decision by the Rome court that is leading the Italian investigation and the government, the source said, because it would indicate rising frustration with Egypt – a significant Arab ally for Italy.

While a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment, a spokesman in Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s office said he did not know whether the investigators would be brought home.

An Egyptian forensics official has told the public prosecutor’s office the autopsy he conducted showed Regeni was interrogated for up to seven days before he was killed. The findings, which were denied by Egypt’s Justice Ministry, are the strongest indication yet that Regeni was murdered by security services due to the fact that they pointed to interrogation methods which human rights groups say are their hallmark.

There is no indication that the uproar will abate any soon, the case has led to severe friction between Egypt and Italy, though it seems unlikely to drive a permanent wedge between two countries. Italy exported around 3 billion euros ($3.25 billion) in goods to Egypt last year, Italian export credit agency Sace said.

Italian firms lead by State-controlled oil producer Eni, developing Egypt’s giant Zohr gas field. In a letter to Amnesty International seen by, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi showed his support for Regeni’s family.

“We are confident in the work being done by the Egyptian and Italian governments and we can’t but hope, like everyone, that the question marks regarding this affair are cleared up as soon as possible,”. Descalzi wrote last month.

Furthermore, Egypt is also expected to play a major role in helping to stabilise Libya, its western neighbour, should factions there agree to a U.N.-sponsored unity government – a project vital to regional security in Italy’s eyes.