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Giulio Regeni. According to Italian government sources, the Egyptian authorities have made no progress in the investigation.

With new Italian government, fresh pressure on Egypt in Regeni case

There is no imminent breakthrough in the investigation into the murder of Giulio Regeni. The prosecutor in Rome absolutely denies that Egypt has fulfilled its promise of “new progress in the investigation” on the barbaric murder of the young researcher from Friuli, Italy, according to the Italian daily Repubblica. What’s more: “The Egyptian judges have not announced nor hinted, or configured anything new in the investigation,” said a source in the prosecution.

Egypt’s refusal unmasks the political operation that underlies the article published in the Roman daily in support of the course that new Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano is pursuing. La Repubblica thus explains that the promise of “change” of the Egyptian authorities may convince Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni to send Italian ambassador Giampaolo Cantini, on standby in Rome since May 10, the day of his appointment, to Cairo for at least a period of time. As a “test.”

It should be remembered that his predecessor, Maurizio Massari, was recalled for consultations by then-Foreign Minister Gentiloni on April 8, under media pressure raised by the Regeni family, given the total lack of judicial cooperation from Egypt and their continuous false leads. Now Cairene authorities see an opening in the diplomatic year-end deadline, when the Egyptian Embassy in Rome, the new ambassador Hisham Badr should take the place of the outgoing Amr Helmy.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (who accused the Italian press of spreading speculation and conjecture about the Regeni case) is sending a message: If you don’t reopen diplomatic channels with us, we’ll keep ours closed to you. If you don’t send Cantini, we won’t send Badr. There are economic and migration implications with that. For example, the al-Sisi regime could ease controls on departures of migrants from Egypt to Italy as a form of retaliation.

The ill-will is strong in the Rome prosecutor’s office. “Politicians can decide in full autonomy, but to invent nonexistent actions in an investigation is very dangerous,” said one internal source. But the Roman power of attorney is still struggling to translate investigative documents into Italian from notes handwritten and in a Cairene dialect of Arabic.

Among these documents were the minutes of the hearing of the head of the independent trade unions of street vendors, Mohamed Abdallah, showing that the Egyptian police received information on Regeni as early as Jan. 22, three days before he was kidnapped. But, as the Regeni family and human rights organizations have always insisted, it is more important to understand who instigated the murder and not just the individuals who executed it.

If not the foreign ministry, the Supreme Judicial Council is interested in the case. Its Ninth Commission in recent days decided to again monitor the new phase of Egypt’s judicial cooperation. At their summit last summer in Rome, the magistrates said the objective was “strengthening the administration of the Egyptian justice system.”

“In light of the concerns expressed by the press and the president of Amnesty International Italy,” said Chairman Alessio Zaccaria, the SJC commission has decided “not to take a final determination yet and to closely monitor the developments of the investigation.”

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