Italian investigators have identified a list of defendants accused of the 2016 killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Egypt, marking a critical development in the case. An initial list of 26 names has been pared down to 10 politicians and officials.
Regeni’s mother, Paola Deffendi, revealed in a press conference on Monday at the Italian Senate that the family now knows who killed their son after torturing him, as well as where the crime took place. Alessandra Ballerini, the family lawyer, also said at the presser that Regeni was killed in an area that falls under the control of an Egyptian security apparatus.
An Italian government source, speaking to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, revealed that Italian investigators prepared a list of 26 figures whom evidence implicates in the killing of Regeni.
“In order to preserve the relations between the two countries, names of politicians and officials working in sovereign executive bodies have been removed from the list,” the source said. “The responsibility of some of them is limited to knowledge of the crime, given their positions. We also removed the names of those who intervened in the case after Regeni’s death.”
“There are 10 names left, and this is all we can do to preserve relations with Cairo. We expect Cairo to show the same level of care, understanding that the political and economic ties between the two countries do not allow for the case to be dropped,” the source said, adding that the list was based on information gathered from several cities.
Media outlets have already reported that the Italian investigation team is expected to visit Egypt in the coming days to discuss developments.
An Egyptian government source working on Egyptian-Italian relations, who spoke to Mada Masr anonymously, expects that the upcoming visit of the Italian public prosecutor to Cairo will accompany an official request into the opening of investigations with the 10 suspects.
The source said that cooperation on the case might “get more complicated, given Italy’s insistence that the Egyptian public prosecutor accuses 10 people working in different security institutions, in the absence of corroborative evidence proving that they are implicated in the case.”
Meanwhile, a German company tasked with examining surveillance cameras in metro stations where Regeni was reported to be the day of his disappearance has stopped its work, due to derailment from the Egyptian side, according to the Italian source.
The Egyptian official, meanwhile, said that Egypt did not intervene to stop the work of the German company, adding that Egypt welcomed the German experts, permitting them to come and examine the footage in Cairo. The company, however, maintained that the material should travel to their labs in Germany and the US for technical reasons, “which is something we categorically reject.”
“Cairo doesn’t seem to be demonstrating the same willingness to collaborate with Rome,” the Italian source said, “starting from attempts to hide the truth, through addressing moral accusations to Giulio, all the way to accusing five people who had nothing to do with Regeni’s murder and killing them in cold blood on the streets of the capital.”
The Italian source added that the recent derailment in the work of the German company is yet another manifestation of Cairo’s lack of will to collaborate.
Deffendi, Regeni’s mother, demanded that Pope Francis of the Vatican, due to visit Egypt by the end of April, speak about the case.
Regeni’s body was found on a highway between Cairo and Alexandria with signs of torture on February 3, 2016, days after his disappearance on January 25. He was doing field research for his PhD thesis on independent unions in Egypt.
See Mada Masr’s timeline charting the events throughout the year from the day Regeni disappeared in Cairo:
Translated by Lina Attalah