Asked London for joint Regeni moves (4)

Spoke with Johnson to get to the truth

(ANSA) - Rome, October 4 - Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Wednesday he had asked British counterpart Boris Johnson for joint initiatives to get to the truth about Giulio Regeni, an Italian student tortured and murdered in Cairo early last year. Alfano told the House Regeni was an Italian citizen but also a Cambridge University researcher. Alfano said "we want the truth and we won't settle for less" after sending in an ambassador to encourage progress in the probe.
    Alfano also voiced the hope that the case of the Regeni family's Egyptian legal consultant, whose detention was recently extended for another 15 days, would soon be resolved.
    Human rights attorney Ibrahim Metwaly, legal consultant to the Regeni family, has had his provisional detention in jail extended by another 15 days, judicial sources told ANSA Tuesday.
    Metwaly was arrested on September 10 at the Cairo Airport en route to Geneva to participate in a session of the UN Human Rights Council.
    Defense attorney Ezzat Ghoneim, speaking by phone from Cairo, said Metwaly has been accused of "conspiracy with a UN director", without providing any names.
    On September 28 Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry "reiterated Egypt's commitment to continuing the investigation underway into the murder of the Italian academic Giulio Regeni with all the transparency and interest" necessary.
    The comment was made after a meeting between Shoukry and the new Italian ambassador to Cairo, Giampaolo Cantini.
    Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid noted in the text sent to ANSA that the minister "underscored at the beginning of the meeting that he was pleased to meet the new ambassador to confirm the special nature of Italian-Egyptian relations, their long history and the shared interests between the two countries: economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges, and coordination and constant consultation on how to strengthen security and stability in the Middle East and the Mediterranean." Egypt has denied suggestions its security forces, frequently accused of brutal repression of opposition, had anything to do with the death of Regeni, who was researching Cairo street seller unions.
    Regeni, 28, disappeared on January 25, 2016, the heavily policed fifth anniversary of the popular ousting of former strongman Hosni Mubarak.
    His mutilated body was found in a ditch on the road to Alexandria nine days later.
    Cantini took up his position earlier this month, replacing Maurizio Massari, who was recalled in spring 2016 following friction over Egyptian lack of cooperation in the quest for the truth.
    But in August Rome decided to send Ambassador Cantini to Cairo, citing recent progress over the case.
    Earlier this month Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said it was impossible for Rome not to have high-level political and diplomatic relations with such an important neighbour.
    Regeni's parents met Rome prosecutors earlier this month after voicing their "indignation" that Cantini had been sent in - despite Italian government assurances that finding the truth on their son's murder would be a top priority for the envoy.
    The Rome meeting focused on documents recently sent by Egyptian prosecutors, which did not contain any clinching evidence on who tortured and killed the Friuli native.
    The Regeni family insists there has not been any real breakthrough such as to warrant Cantini's posting.
    Alfano has told parliament that the search for the truth about the murder will include "the British institution for which Giulio was conducting his research" - Cambridge University.
    He said Cantini "will have a relationship of cooperation with his British colleague in the Egyptian capital" over the Regeni case.
    Alfano said the decision to send Cantini to Cairo does not mean Rome has given up its quest to get to the bottom of the affair.
    He added that the government had already explained its position regarding a New York Times report that the US gave "explosive" evidence that Egypt's secret services tortured and murdered Regeni to the former government of Matteo Renzi.
    In its report, the NYT said the administration of former United States president Barack Obama gave the Renzi government proof last year that graduate student Regeni was abducted, tortured and killed by Egypt's security services, who had been surveilling him for some time because of his research into street vendor trade unions.
    The office of Premier Paolo Gentiloni denied the report.
    The Obama administration gave no "explosive evidence" or real actionable information to the Renzi government that Regeni was tortured and murdered by the Egyptian secret services, Gentiloni's office said.
    Egypt gave several explanations for Regeni's death including a car accident, a gay lovers' tiff turned ugly and murder by an alleged kidnapping gang, later wiped out by police - all of them rejected by Italy.
    But last month Cairo supplied allegedly key fresh testimony by the police who probed Regeni before and after his death, prompting Rome to send Cantini to Cairo.