Egyptian Public Prosecutor says no base 'now' for filing criminal case on Julio Regeni murder



Wed, 30 Dec 2020 - 02:35 GMT


Wed, 30 Dec 2020 - 02:35 GMT

Julio Regeni

Julio Regeni

CAIRO – 30 December 2020: The Egyptian Public Prosecutor announced Wednesday that currently there is no base for filing a criminal case on the killing, abduction, and physical torture incident of Julio Regeni.


The Public Prosecutor instructed investigation entities to carry on their work to identify the culprit(s), and dropped the charges against four officers and a policeman affiliated to the National Security Agency.


Furthermore, the criminal case of robbery is dropped given the death of the defendants.


The Public Prosecution began investigation on February 3, 2016 when citizens found the body of the victim on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road. The investigations lasted for almost five years


In those years, the Public Prosecution determined the events that occurred since his disappearance until the body was found as well as the details of his stay in Egypt. During that time, he traveled to and from Egypt several times having as destinations Italy, Turkey, and Israel.


The investigations also identified his Egyptian and non-Egyptian acquaintances. That is in addition to his moves within the framework of the scientific research he was conducting on syndicates, workers' movements, and independent syndicates, particularly the syndicate of pedestrian vendors and irregular workers under the supervision of the American University in Cairo (AUC).


The investigations also closely delineated his activities in the last days before his disappearance and on the day he disappeared until the body was found.


The Public Prosecution took measures for the autopsy to take place in order to determine the cause of death. Also, his clothes; objects from where the body was lying; the data on the victim's phone's SIM card; SIM cards that were present in the place where he was last there and the place where the body was found; and, the content of surveillance cameras located where he disappeared were analyzed.


Moreover, the Public Prosecution got testimonies from almost 120 witnesses, and requested investigations by security agencies. Such investigations indicated that the victim – within the framework of carrying out a scientific research – was in contact with a number of members of the independent syndicates of freelance professions and pedestrian vendors as well as members of various political groups.


The victim was present in sites where they meet, and criticized in his conversations with them the behavior of certain political groups in the country and how they handle political mobility. He expressed concern over the danger such groups compose to the stability of Egypt. Investigations proved the victim's talks with pedestrian vendors about the ruling system in Egypt, and that he was asserting they can change the status quo like what happened in other countries.


The Public Prosecution inspected the residence of the victim in Egypt, and found out that his parents had collected all his belongings, including his laptop, right after his death was announced.


As for judicial cooperation, the Egyptian Public Prosecution informed the Prosecution of the Republic in Rome of the updates of the investigation. That was through 15 bilateral meetings among the investigation teams of each country' prosecution. It also sent to its Italian counterpart certain requests - over five communications - as those would help in the investigation.


Nevertheless, the Italian prosecution did not fulfill some of those requests such as sending Regeni's laptop, and the testimonies of witnesses interrogated by Italian authorities without indicating "good enough" reasons. The excuse was that Italy is committed to not disclose the information it acquired from other states to Egypt or any other state. Since the Egyptian Public Prosecution is the original entity responsible for the investigation, such act does not match norms in international judicial cooperation, the statement issued Wednesday says.  


On the other hand, the Egyptian Public Prosecution received from its Italian counterpart requests – over four communications – and fulfilled most of them, except for extracting the identities of all individuals who were present and moving between five underground metro stations in Cairo from cell phone service providers as well as providing the names of all foreigners that were arrested or stopped by police since the evening of the same day he disappeared and until the body was found. That is because such measures would violate the privacy of Egyptian individuals and international human rights law.  


The Public Prosecution asked for judicial help from the United Kingdom to get from Cambridge University information on the nature of the study the victim was conducting and reasons behind his travel to Egypt. The Egyptian Public Prosecution also wanted to know the testimonies of the supervisors who were supervising the research and sources of funding. The Prosecution also requested judicial help from Kenya to acquire the testimony of a witness in Kenya, who claimed he heard Regeni talk with an Egyptian officer. Yet, none of these states approved without indicating reasons.


On March 24, 2016, the belongings of Regeni were found at the place of a gang member. The gang used to rob Egyptians and foreigners, and investigations showed they robbed Regeni and another Italian national in two different incidents that occurred in Cairo and Giza.


Five members of such gang robbed Regeni causing the injuries found on his body, and they were killed while the police was arresting them in a fire exchange. The Public Prosecution will unveil details of the incident in another statement.


As for the charges brought about by the Italian authorities against four police officers and a policeman at the National Security Agency, the Public Prosecution ruled out all of them determining that are the outcome of wrong deductions that do not align with reason or international criminal investigation standards. The suspicions put forward by Italian authorities were not backed by proofs, the statement says.


The Egyptian Public Prosecution replied to such suspicions that evolved around accusing the security men of the victim's murder just because they put him under scrutiny in a way that did not even restrict his freedom or violate his private life. Their move came after his suspicious acts – which did not match the nature of the research he was carrying out - were reported. However, by tracking him, his behavior was estimated as not harmful to the general security, and thus, the scrutiny stopped.


The statement concluded by saying that the uncommon behavior and moves of the victim was known to all people, and that the news of the report filed against him may have triggered an "unknown person" to kill him on January 25, 2016 knowing that the Egyptian security would be focusing on securing vital institutions.


The statement added that the culprit abducted the victim, held him, and physically tortured him in order to implicate members of the Egyptian security in parallel with a visit paid by an Italian business delegation.


The culprit threw the body near buildings affiliated to the Egyptian police as if they wanted to grab attention and make a scene. That proved to the Public Prosecution that the crime was committed to ruin the Egyptian-Italian growing relations over the precedent period. The crime was also used by certain media known for fueling crises. The incident has other aspects that have not been unveiled yet, the Egyptian Public Prosecution says.



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