No 'explosive' evidence on Regeni (3)

No 'actionable info' from Obama admin to Renzi's

(ANSA) - Rome, August 16 - The Obama administration gave no "explosive evidence" or real actionable information to the previous Renzi government that Giulio Regeni was tortured and murdered by the Egyptian secret services, the Italian premier's office said Tuesday after a New York Times report.
    The NYT said the US, under Obama, acquired evidence that Regeni was abducted, tortured and killed by the Egyptian secret services in early 2016 and informed the Renzi government.
    But the premier's office said no solid evidence was provided, "as was recognised by the (NYT) journalist himself", and Egypt had offered ever increasing cooperation with Rome, spurring Italy to send ambassador Giampaolo Cantini to Cairo Monday after Rome withdrew its ambassador in April 2016 in protest at lack of cooperation.
    Regeni's family said it was "indignant" at the posting of the ambassador and posted a photo of an Italian flag at half mast, saying it was "doubly in grief" at their son's death.
    Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano responded by stressing that Cantini will be tasked with seeking the truth about Regeni, a Cambridge university researcher into Egyptian trade unions who disappeared on January 25, 2016, the heavily policed fifth anniversary of the ousting of former strongman Hosni Mubarak.
    His mutilated body was found in a ditch on the road to Alexandria nine days later.
    Egypt gave several explanations for his death including a car accident, a gay lovers' tiff turned ugly and murder by an alleged kidnapping gang, all of them rejected by Italy.
    But on Monday Cairo supplied allegedly key fresh testimony by the police who first probed Regeni's death, prompting Rome to send Cantini to Cairo.
    Egypt on Wednesday welcomed the return of the Italian ambassador to Cairo after the cited progress in the Regeni case, saying it now hoped Italian tourists would follow in Cantini's wake. "Now we hope for the return of Italian tourism", said foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abou Zeid. He said Italian-Egyptian relations were "special and historic in various aspects, economic, cultural, and also in the political field".
    In his report for the NYT , Declan Walsh said that in the weeks after Regeni's death, the United States acquired "explosive intelligence from Egypt: proof that Egyptian security officials had abducted, tortured and killed Regeni." "We had incontrovertible evidence of official Egyptian responsibility," an Obama administration official - one of three former officials who confirmed the intelligence - told me. "There was no doubt." At the recommendation of the State Department and the White House, the United States passed this conclusion to the Renzi government. But 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. "It was not clear who gave the order to abduct and, presumably, kill him," another former official said. What the Americans knew for certain, they told the Italians, was that Egypt's leadership was fully aware of the circumstances around Regeni's death. "We had no doubt that this was known by the very top," said the other official. "I don't know if they had responsibility.
    But they knew. They knew."

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