The family of Italian scholar Giulio Regeni plans to visit Cairo on October 3 to “to continue the search for truth and justice” for their son, who was tortured and then killed in Egypt in early 2016.
The family’s comments came in a televised interview aired on Wednesday — published online on the Italian news outlet Rai News — two days after Rome announced it would reopen its diplomatic mission in Cairo, a move that seems to indicate an improvement in bilateral relations after more than a year-long standoff over the investigation in Regeni’s murder.
Italy recalled former Ambassador to Egypt Maurizio Massari in April 2016 amid assertions that Egyptian authorities were being uncooperative in providing evidence to further the investigation. Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced the news that Massari would be recalled on Twitter, using the hashtag “#Truth for Regeni.”
Giampaolo Cantini was then appointed the non-resident ambassador to Egypt in May.
The decision to have Cantini take up his position in Cairo again trouble the family, who said the move lacked compassion in their Wednesday interview.
The family also asserted in the interview that they have acquired the names of three Egyptian officials involved in the kidnapping, torture and murder of their son, adding that they only trust their lawyers, the Italian investigators and the rest of their family.
According to the Italian news agency Ansa, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni asserted on Wednesday that the United States had not passed along “strong evidence” to former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi that implicated Egyptian authorities in Regeni’s murder. This confirmed a fact conveyed in a Tuesday report published in the New York Times Magazine that cited three anonymous officials from the Obama administration as asserting that the US had “incontrovertible evidence of official Egyptian responsibility” in Regeni’s death, in the words of one of the officials.
Although the New York Times Magazine reports that the conclusion was shared with Italian side, it adds that “to avoid identifying the source, the Americans did not share the raw intelligence, nor did they say which security agency they believed was behind Regeni’s death.”
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid, however, asserted that the Gentiloni denied the New York Times Magazine’s report, writing on his Twitter account: “Italy denies @nytimes story of receiving “evidence” from US about Egypt security involvement in killing of Regeni @declanwalsh @Adnkronos.” The report never asserted that evidence had been transferred to Italian authorites.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano stated that the Cantini will take up the probe into Regeni’s murder, according to Ansa.
The researcher disappeared at a metro station on January 25, 2016 as he was traveling from his apartment in Dokki to meet a friend in downtown Cairo. His body was found a few days later on February 3, naked and bearing signs of torture beside a highway on the outskirts of Cairo. Egyptian investigators admitted a few months later that they put Regeni under surveillance after they received a complaint from a representative of the street vendors syndicate who denounced him as a spy.
See Mada Masr’s timeline charting the events throughout the year from the day Regeni disappeared in Cairo: