Egyptian officers are being tried in Italy for the murder of a student.
Four Egyptian security personnel will stand trial in Italy in their absence on Thursday for the gruesome killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo five years ago.
In the case, which has provoked indignation in Italy and damaged diplomatic relations with Egypt, the officers are accused of kidnapping, conspiracy to murder, and severe bodily harm.
Regeni, a 28-year-old doctoral student at Cambridge University, was kidnapped in January 2016. His body was finally discovered dumped on the outskirts of Cairo, with considerable evidence of torture.
The first hearing in Rome was hailed by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio as “a result unhoped for in the weeks following the discovery of Giulio’s body,” when the case appeared hopeless.
However, the trial could be called off before it even begins.
The court will have to decide if the four suspects are aware of the legal actions against them, as the law requires. Egypt has declined to share its contact information.
At a preliminary hearing in May, a judge decided that media coverage meant the four would have heard about the inquiry. On Thursday, the court might uphold or reverse that ruling.
General Tariq Sabir, Colonels Athar Kamel and Uhsam Helmi, and Major Magdi Ibrahim Abdelal Sharif, who is suspected of carrying out the killing, are listed in court documents.
Regeni was allegedly kidnapped and slain after being mistaken for a foreign spy, according to investigators.
In December, prosecutor Michele Prestipino told a parliamentary committee that there were “elements of strong proof” implicating Egyptian officers in the murder, which Egypt denied.
Sharif, according to his squad, utilized informants to track down Regeni, arrested him, and subjected him to “severe bodily agony.” Regeni’s hands and feet were damaged, and his teeth were broken. He died as a result of asphyxia.
According to media reports, Regeni’s legal team has demanded that all Italian prime ministers and foreign ministers, as well as the country’s secret service heads, be brought as witnesses since 2016.
However, court-appointed defence counsel Tranquillino Sarno told AFP that whether key eyewitnesses central to the prosecutor’s case made it to Rome to testify in person would determine whether the trial would “stand or fall.”
Regeni’s body was discovered nine days after he vanished. His mother later claimed she could only recognize her son by the “tip of his nose” because it had been terribly damaged.
Regeni had been researching Egyptian labor unions as part of his doctoral dissertation, which was a particularly sensitive political matter.
His assassination drew new condemnation. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.