An Italian court has commenced the trial in absentia of four senior members of Egypt’s security services, over their suspected involvement in the brutal murder of student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in 2016.
Italy hopes the proceedings will bring attention to a murder that shocked the country and strained ties between Egypt and Italy. The allegation has been repeatedly denied by Egyptian authorities.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the case last month, “the search for the truth has always been, and will continue to be, a fundamental goal in our relations with Egypt”
“Achieving a definitive picture, in the framework of a fair trial, will not bring Giulio back to his parents, but it will reaffirm the strength of justice, transparency, and the rule of law in which he believed.”
Investigators suggest that Regeni was abducted and killed after being mistaken for a foreign spy. Twenty-eight-year-old Regeni was doing research for a doctorate at Cambridge University when he was abducted in January 2016. His body, bearing extensive signs of torture, was eventually found dumped on the outskirts of Cairo.
The court will have to rule on whether the four suspects are aware of the judicial proceedings against them, as required by law. Egypt has refused to provide their contact details.
The four are named in court documents as General Tariq Sabir, Colonels Athar Kamel and Uhsam Helmi, and Major Magdi Ibrahim Abdelal Sharif, who is accused of carrying out the killing.
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