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Italy: 4 Egyptians tried for the death of researcher Giulio Regeni

Italy: 4 Egyptians tried for the death of researcher Giulio Regeni
Paola and Claudio Regeni hold a "Truth for Giulio Regeni" banner before the trial for the murder of the   -  
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Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


Four senior Egyptian security officials were tried in absentia in a Rome court on Tuesday, accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing an Italian doctoral student in Cairo in 2016.

Giulio Regeni's parents, Paola and Giulio Regeni, were present at the opening of the trial and posed outside the court with a "Truth for Giulio Regeni" banner .

Giulio Regeni 's body was found on a highway days after he disappeared in the Egyptian capital on January 25, 2016. He was in Cairo to study the union activities of street vendors as part of his doctoral thesis .

His mother said his body was so mutilated by torture that she could only recognize the tip of his nose when she saw it. Human rights activists said the marks on his body resembled those resulting from widespread torture at the Egyptian Security Agency.

Tuesday's opening hearing marked the second time that the four Egyptian security officers have been tried on charges related to his death. In 2021, a judge in Rome interrupted the trial on the very day it opened, arguing that it was not certain whether the defendants had been officially informed of their indictment.

In September, Italy's Constitutional Court ruled that the trial could proceed even though the four had not received official notification, as Egyptian authorities had refused to provide them with addresses.

The accused are Major Sherif Magdy, Police Major General Tareq Saber, who was a senior official in the internal security agency at the time of Regeni's kidnapping, Colonel Hesham Helmy, who worked in a busy security centre of maintaining order in the Cairo neighbourhood where the Italian lived, and Colonel Acer Kamal, who headed a police department responsible for street operations and discipline.

Egyptian authorities claimed that the Cambridge University doctoral student was the victim of simple thieves.

The affair strained relations between Italy and Egypt, Rome's ally in the fight against terrorism. At one point, Italy withdrew its ambassador to pressure Egypt to cooperate with the investigation.

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