The recalling of the ambassador came after an Egyptian delegation’s visit to Rome to share information with Italian officials into the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni.
Italian authorities stated that the Egyptian investigation was incomplete and lacked key materials requested by Italian investigators.
Regeni disappeared on January 25 — the fifth anniversary of the 2011 revolution — while on his way to meet a friend in downtown Cairo, an area heavily occupied by security forces at the time. His body was later found by the side of a road on the outskirts of Cairo bearing signs of torture, including cigarette burns, bruises, cuts and multiple stab wounds.
Before his departure, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned his Italian counterpart that political pressures are getting in the way of a full judicial investigation into the Regeni case, reported the state-owned Al-Ahram. Shoukry urged that the two countries maintain the positive spirit needed to complete the investigation, while respecting laws protecting personal rights in Egypt.
Shoukry also stated that the summoning of the Italian ambassador raises questions about how Italian and Egyptian investigative teams will cooperate in the future.
On Saturday, Public Prosecutor Mostafa Suleiman stated that Italian authorities had requested records of over one million phone calls made in the area where Regeni disappeared. Suleiman stated that, even though Italy’s continued cooperation with the Egyptian investigative team was contingent on these on phone records, Egypt could not release them because it would be considered “unconstitutional.”
Egypt was also unable to hand over key surveillance footage due to technical issues, Suleiman added, explaining that the material recorded automatically deletes itself, but that they had shown it to Italian authorities in February.
Egyptian-Italian relations have been facing mounting pressure as a result of the case, with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni stating that Italy would take immediate and proportionate measures against Egypt if it did not fully cooperate with investigations into Regeni’s murder.