Italy recalled its ambassador to Egypt on Friday over the murder of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni. The move came following an Egyptian delegate’s visit to Italy to brief Italian officials on their investigations into the murder, the Associated Press reported.
Italy had threatened to escalate if Egypt was uncooperative in the ongoing investigations. On April 5, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni stated that Italy would take immediate and proportionate measures against Egypt if it did not change the way it was conducting investigations into the murder.
In response, on April 6 President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was quoted in national newspapers as saying that Egypt would continue its transparent cooperation with the Italian authorities to bring those responsible for Regeni’s death to justice.
On April 7, a delegation of investigators and security officials from Egypt traveled to Rome to present Italian officials with a 2000-page report on their investigation. But the next day the Italian Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata quoted Italian judicial sources as saying that the report was still incomplete and lacking elements Italy had been calling for.
The meeting had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed to Thursday for undisclosed reasons.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it received an official notification of the decision to recall the Italian ambassador on Saturday morning, MENA reported.
However, in a statement Friday, it said that it is still awaiting the results of the meeting between the Egyptian and Italian investigation teams looking into the case in Rome. Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the results will be assessed once the Egyptian delegation returns from Rome.
Regeni’s body was discovered on the side of a road in February with severe torture marks, including cigarette burns, bruises, cuts and multiple stab wounds. The student went missing on January 25, 2016, while on the way to meet a friend in downtown Cairo, an area with heavy security presence on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January revolution.
Egyptian authorities recently alleged the involvement of a criminal gang specialized in impersonating police and robbing foreigners, but it could not question the said gang members regarding this as they killed all five of them in a security ambush.
Italian authorities and Regeni’s family dismissed the claims. Italian investigators said at the time that Regeni’s case was far from being closed.