Italian newspaper La Stampa published a report on Monday claiming that the United States government has evidence that Egyptian security was involved in the death of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, citing anonymous sources in Washington.
According to La Stampa’s source, who is identified as an Obama administration insider, there were orders “from above” to make an example out of Regeni, as a warning to foreigners in Egypt. The source added that, given relations between the two countries, it would be surprising if the US had not informed the Italian government of what they knew.
The report is in line with an investigation published in the New York Times Magazine on August 15, that cited three anonymous officials from the Obama administration as asserting that the US had “incontrovertible evidence of official Egyptian responsibility” in Regeni’s death, in the words of one of the officials.
The New York Times Magazine wrote that while this information was shared with Italy, “to avoid identifying the source, the Americans did not share the raw intelligence. Nor did they say which security agency they believed was behind Regeni’s death.”
This was confirmed by the office of Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who told Italian Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associate (ANSA) news agency on Wednesday that the US government had not provided them with any actionable intelligence regarding the involvement of Egyptian security in Regeni’s death.
However, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry interpreted this statement as discrediting the investigative report, tweeting: “Italy denies [The New York Times’] story of receiving ‘evidence’ from US about Egypt security involvement in killing of Regeni.”
Regeni, who was researching independent labor syndicates in Egypt, was killed in 2016. He disappeared en route from his Dokki apartment to downtown Cairo on January 25, and his body was found on the outskirts of Cairo on February 3, bearing signs of torture.
The researcher’s murder lead to escalating tensions between the two countries, with Italy calling the Egyptian government uncooperative during the investigation’s early stages. However, relations have seen recent improvements, with Italy announcing last Monday that their ambassador would be returning to Cairo, over one year after he was recalled amid the initial tensions.
See Mada Masr’s timeline charting the events throughout the year from the day Regeni disappeared in Cairo: