Italy Prepared an Initial List of Defendants Accuses 26 Figures in Regeni’s Murder

Italian investigators prepared an initial list of defendants, accusing 26 persons of  killing the Italian student Giulio Regeni in Egypt in 2016 which marks a critical development in the case. An initial list was pared down to 10 politicians and officials.

In a press conference, Regeni’s mother, Paola Deffendi, said 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 on condition of anonymity, revealed that Italian investigators prepared a list of 26 figures whom evidence implicates in the killing of Regeni.

The source said, “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.”

He added,”The responsibility of some of them is limited to knowledge of the crime, given their positions. We also removed names of those who intervened in the case after Regeni’s death.”

The source added that the list was based on information gathered from several cities saying that,”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.”

In fact, recent media outlets have 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 on condition of anonymity, 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 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.”

In he same context, according to the Italian source, 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.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian official, 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.

However, the company had maintained that the material should travel to their labs in Germany and the US for technical reasons, “which is something we categorically reject.”

The Italian source said,”Cairo doesn’t seem to be demonstrating the same willingness to collaborate with Rome,” He added,”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.”

In addition , the Italian source said that the recent derailment in the work of the German company is yet another manifestation of Cairo’s lack of will to collaborate.

Last December, Egypt’s Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek met with Rome’s Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone and the Italian investigation team at Rome in meeting that lasted for 36 hours.

In fact, Egypt’s Public Prosecutor confessed – with irrefutable evidence – that the Egyptian security forces have lied on both the Egyptian and the Italian parties.

According to the false story narrated by the interior ministry, the security forces have followed Regeni for three days only starting from January 7 to January 10 as a result of a file issued from the head of the independent street vendors’ union Mohamed Abdallah who reported Regeni to the authorities as posing danger to the national security.

Egypt’s interior ministry said that as a result of Abdallah’s tip-off, it placed Regeni under investigation, but they said that they ended following him on January 10 after they realized that his research was not dangerous and had “no interest to national security”which was denied by Egypt’s Prosecutor General by all means.

In this context, Nabil Sadek presented evidence against the Egyptian security forces narration.

First, he represented the investigations adopted by his office confirming that the security forces continued to follow Regeni directly through their men since he returned back from Italy after celebrating the Christmas with his family and this close investigation lasted till January 14.

Then, it continued to follow him through their agents till January 22 -three days before his disappearance. According to the public prosecutor, the security forces’ right hand for following Regeni was “Agent”Mohamed Abdallah the head of the independent vendors’ union.

In addition,Nabil Sadek has also handed over Rome’s Chief Prosecutor five recorded telephone calls for five leaders in the Egyptian National Security Service from January till March, more than one month after Regeni’s murder, as they were the ones responsible for his security file.

The phone records proved that the interior ministry’s narration in all its details was false.

In fact, the recorded phone calls were all about Regeni and his activities in Egypt.

Moreover, Egypt’s Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek said to the Italian team that  his investigation has shown strong doubts about the authenticity of accusing the five Egyptians who were all shot dead by security forces while they were on a micro bus – according to the story of the Interior Ministry – of being behind the murder of Regeni. The five passengers were killed by the police forces on March 24.

In this context, the prosecutor general informed the Italian investigators that this accident was used by the security forces as “a coverage “to hide the real murderer and accordingly he has referred two of the police officers, who participated in killing the five victims, to investigations to know the truth about what happened especially that there was no exchange of fire with the five victims as claimed by the security forces.

The investigation team didn’t find any blood traces inside the micro bus which means that they were killed outside it. Accordingly, they weren’t attacking the police forces and this means that they were killed previously.

Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek handed over a copy of the investigations conducted with two police officers to the Italian investigators.

Giulio Regeni, the PhD. student who was doing postgraduate research into Egyptian trade unions, disappeared on the fifth anniversary of January Revolution.The Cambridge University student’s body was found brutally tortured in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, on February 3, 2016. His mother said that she could only recognize him by his nose.

Torture found on Regeni’s body showed the signs of Egypt’s security forces which are known for using violence against detainees to gain information and confessions.

The Egyptian authorities have narrated several stories about the Italian student murder. They previously claimed he was killed in a traffic accident. Then, they claimed he was kidnapped and murdered by a gang specialized in killing foreigners. Five suspected men were shot dead by the Egyptian security forces.

Since Regeni’s murder, Italy has repeatedly expressed its dissent from the Egyptian authorities which have been accused of not cooperating to find those responsible for Regeni’s brutal death.

On June 30, the Italian Senate voted to halt supplies to Egypt of spare parts for F16 warplanes in protest against the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni. Two months before the Italian Senate decision, Italy recalled the Italian ambassador from Egypt in light of the unresolved murder of the Italian Student.

Following the Egyptian Prosecutor General’s visit to Rome and all the documents that he handed to the Italian investigation team, media outlets inferred that he has received a complete “political coverage” for uncovering the real murderers of the Italian student despite their high-ranking security positions in the state to end the case and convince the Italians that Egypt didn’t delay discovering those who committed that brutal crime.

At the same time, he might as well handed them names of low-rank security officers as a scapegoat in Regeni’s murder case.

In fact, Egypt tries to contain the situation to avoid turning Regeni’s case to an international case which would turn the head of the Egyptian executive authority -the head of the state- as one of the defendants in the crime and this would probably put Sisi onto an international trial.

It is noteworthy that Europe has already started to unite its official stance against Egypt after the European Union has recommended banning weapons exports to Egypt considering it a country that violates human rights, as it built its accusation on Regeni’s murder case and Cairo’s efforts to cover the real killers behind the crime.

Moreover, Cairo tries to speed its pace amid the dramatic political changes that occurred in Italy recently and led to the overthrow of Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who was described as al-Sisi’s friend, and the rise of a new political power that is known for its opposition to al-Sisi regime.

There is no choice in front of al-Sisi military regime but to sacrifice some of its low ranking security men without protecting them from punishment.

The regime has no choice but to give up its tradition in protecting the crimes of its security forces against the Egyptian citizens this time as Regeni’s case is totally different. It seems that there is a trend now in the regime to desert its men to face the responsibility and carry the crime burden on their backs alone because if al-Sisi protected them this time, he will be the convicted internationally which he totally rejects.