Egypt submits documents on Regeni death to Italian prosecutors

A delegation of Egyptian prosecutors, headed by Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek, submitted all the documents required by their Italian counterparts concerning the murder of 28-year-old Italian researcher Giulio Regeni on Wednesday, according to the Italian ANSA news agency.

Italian and Egyptian prosecutors issued a joint statement saying that the documents exchanged included the written testimony of the head of the street vendors union, with whom Regeni communicated extensively, and footage of an interview between the two. In return Italian prosecutors submitted information on the researcher’s bank accounts in Italy and the UK.

An Italian judicial source told Reuters that despite the submission of the documents, Wednesday’s meeting did not see a breakthrough in the case. The source stated: “Frankly, we hoped for something more.”

“We have not reached a turning point, but we are carrying on,” they told Reuters, adding, “if we continue with these meetings we will very slowly get towards the truth.”

The official list detailing the documents exchanged did not note whether the phone records of citizens in the vicinity of Regeni’s house, near metro where he was headed before he disappeared or the location where his body was discovered were included.

In April Italy requested these documents, stating that the continuation of judicial cooperation was conditional on acquiring them, however Egypt refused on the basis it would be “unconstitutional.”  Assistant Public Prosecutor Mostafa Suleiman asserted: “We still refused, because it is against the constitution and we will not comply under any conditions or circumstances.”

It remains unclear whether the records were submitted during Wednesday’s meeting.

Sadek also met with Regeni’s family on Wednesday, vowing not to rest “until those responsible for Regeni’s murder are caught.”

According to ANSA, Regeni’s family told the Italian La Repubblica newspaper that they remain skeptical about the course of justice, saying: “By now we are used to interpreting every piece of news as a possible cover-up.” They voiced their fears that “they may be cooking up another great mise en scène, with ‘well-qualified’ scapegoats.”

Regeni’s body was found on the outskirts of Cairo in February, one week after his disappearance on January 25. Egyptian and Italian autopsy reports both show signs of severe torture that lasted for days, and determined that the cause of death was a broken cervical vertebra. Egyptian security forces have repeatedly denied accusations of their involvement in his death.

According to Egyptian prosecutors, the head of the street vendors union gave a testimony on his communication with Regeni spontaneously on January 22, three days before his disappearance. Egyptian security officials confirmed that they conducted investigations into the researcher, claiming they concluded them in early January after ensuring that he did not represent any security threat. However the union leader’s testimony suggests that they continued until shortly before Regeni’s death.

In March the Interior Ministry announced that security forces had killed five people in a raid, who they alleged were members of a criminal gang that was responsible for Regeni’s death. However, Italian authorities asserted that there was no evidence tying the purported suspects to the case, and it is unlikely they were responsible for his torture and death.

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