Giulio Regeni parents protest Italy-Egypt rapprochement

 ROME -- The parents of Cambridge student Giulio Regeni, widely suspected to have been murdered by Egyptian security forces, said they are outraged after Italy, citing 'developments' in cooperation by Cairo in the case, announced this week the return to the Egyptian capital of the Italian Ambassador, who had been withdrawn in protest over the affair. The rapprochement came as the New York Times disclosed that the Obama administration had informed the Italian government that Regeni was tortured and murdered by Egyptian security services with at least the knowledge of high level officials. The Egyptian regime evidently decided to murder Regeni to deter other foreigners and foreign governments from meddling in Egyptian politics.

 The Italian foreign ministry welcomed an Egyptian decision to hand over transcripts of reports by 10 Egyptian police officers who had carried out surveillance of Regeni, a postgraduate student at Girton College, Cambridge, who was conducting research on Egyptian trade unions when he disappeared in Cairo. His parents, Paola and Claudia Regeni, say the reports contain “zero” information to take the case forward to determine who was responsible for abducting and torturing to death the 28-year-old Italian whose corpse was found dumped in a Cairo street in February last year.

 Regeni’s parents said “we are indignant. The decision to send back the Ambassador seems like a surrender. The truth is still far off.”

 In another development the Italian prosecutor investigating the case, Judge Giuseppe Pignatone, in a joint statement with his Egyptian counterpart, said Italian investigators would be travelling to Cairo in September and would be allowed to observe the reconstruction of cctv footage from the metro station in front of Regeni’s Cairo apartment. Italian investigators had asked to see the footage but were told it had been cancelled. Egyptian investigators subsequently ordered a Russian firm to reconstruct the footage to try and determine more about the researcher’s movements. 

 The return to Cairo of the Italian Ambassador, Paolo Cantini, had been expected in recent weeks for political reasons, diplomatic sources say. Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti is keen to mend fences with Cairo to obtain Egyptian support for Italian policy in Libya, where Rome is wooing both rival governments to try and stem the flow of migrants from north Africa to Italy.

 The Italian interior ministry is concerned that people smugglers in Libya may begin sending vessels carrying migrants to Italy from territory controlled by the leader of the Tobruk-based Libyan government,  Gen. Khalifa Haftar, with whom Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi is known to enjoy considerable influence.

 Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni for his part insisted that “the ambassador will be tasked with contributing to the search for the truth about  the (Regeni) assassination. This is a commitment we will not renounce.”