Italian ambassador to return to Cairo if Regini’s death resolved: senator

Rome's ambassador to Cairo will likely return to Cairo, but only if the circumstances surrounding the death of Italian researcher Giulio Regini are revealed, AKI Italian news agency quoted head of the Italian Senate's Human Rights Committee Luigi Manconi as saying.

It seems the Italian government is determined to not send an ambassador to Egypt, but rather maintain the current diplomatic crisis after it withdrew its former ambassador Maurizio Massari on April 8 last year due to the slow progress in the case, he added. 

Regini's defense team identified two Egyptian officials who attempted to mislead Italian authorities by claiming that Regini was killed by gang members who were killed later by the Egyptian police, Manconi said after a meeting with Regini's family and his lawyer on Monday.

Regini was betrayed by his circle of acquaintances in Egypt before he was abducted, Manconi said.

Manconi deplored the lack of success in revealing Regini's murderer so far, saying it was unjustified.

At a press conference at the Italian Senate, Regini's parents appealed to Pope Francis I to address the issue of their son's death with the Egyptian authorities during his visit to Cairo on April 28 and 29.

"On this journey, the Pope cannot but mention Giulio and join our quest for the truth so that we can finally calm down," Regini's mother Paula said on Monday.

"Fourteen months full of pain have passed. We have the right to know the truth for our dignity," Paula added, stressing the need for action by Italian institutions.

The Italian Senate, the upper house of parliament, hosted a conference on Monday about Regeni.

Regeni, a 28-year-old Cambridge University PhD candidate, disappeared on January 25, 2016 in central Cairo as police came out in full force in anticipation of protests. His body, bearing signs of torture, was later found along the side of the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road.

He had been researching street vendor trade unions, a sensitive political issue in Egypt, where successive governments have feared strikes and unrest. Egypt has forcefully denied that its police were involved in his abduction.

Police officials at first suggested Regeni might have died in a road accident. They have issued scant information about their investigation. An Italian autopsy showed that Regeni's body was covered with cuts and his bones were broken, indicating he had been hit with "fists, batons and hammers".

A letter "X" was carved on his forehead and hand, according to the report cited by Italian media. Egypt-Italy relations have deteriorated since Regeni's murder.

Italy withdrew its ambassador to Egypt over the slow process and stilted investigations into Regeni's brutal murder, which experts and officials widely believe was the work of state actors – despite staunch denials by Egypt's government.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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