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Regeni trial shown video of unionist who fingered Giulio

Regeni trial shown video of unionist who fingered Giulio

Abdallah and Italian student 'spoke different languages'

ROME, 19 June 2024, 16:00

ANSA English Desk



The Rome trial in absentia of four Egyptian intelligence officers in the Januatry-February 2016 abduction, torture and murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni was shown a video Wednesday of the Cairo street hawkers' union leader who fingered the 28-year-old Cambridge University doctoral researcher as a spy.
    "It's clear from viewing the video that they are literally speaking two different languages, not only because Giulio expresses himself in classical Arabic while Abdallah uses Egyptian dialect, but that they don't understand each other," said Regeni family lawyer Alessandra Ballerini.
    "They don't understand each other also because they have different intentions.
    "Giulio is there to help (the trade unions) while Abdallah is there to betray him and hand him over to National Security".
    In the video, Regeni tells the union leader "I'm just here for research".
    He speaks with Abdallah, who is wearing a hidden camera, about a £10,000 research grant which the union leader is interested in.
    The two-hour video ends with Abdallah calling over one of the four officers who are standing trial.
    National Security General Tariq Sabir and his subordinates, Colonels Athar Kamel Mohamed Ibrahim and Helmi, and Major Magdi Ibrahim Abdelal Sharif, are on trial on suspicion of torturing to death the Friuli-born Regeni from January 25 to February 3 that year because they thought he was a spy due to his politically sensitive work for Girton College on independent Cairo street seller unions.
    was tortured so badly that his mother Paola Regeni's mother Paola Deffendi said after viewing her son's body she could only recognise him "from the tip of his nose".
    Deffendi said "all the evil in the world" was visited on her son's body.
    His body, according to an Italian autopsy, showed major signs of extreme torture: contusions and abrasions all over from a severe beating; extensive bruising from kicks, punches, and assault with a stick; more than two dozen bone fractures, among them seven broken ribs, all fingers and toes, as well as legs, arms, and shoulder blades; multiple stab wounds on the body including the soles of the feet, possibly from an ice pick or awl-like instrument; numerous cuts over the entire body made with a sharp instrument suspected to be a razor; extensive cigarette burns; a larger burn mark between the shoulder blades made with a hard and hot object; a brain haemorrhage; and a broken cervical vertebra, which ultimately caused death.
    The four officers are on trial even though it has proved impossible, due to Egyptian lack of cooperation, to inform them of the proceedings.
    The trial also heard Wednesday that the intelligence officers made a copy of Regeni's passport a month before his abduction.
    At various times Egypt has advanced differing explanations for Regeni's death including a car accident, a gay lovers' tiff and abduction and murder by the alleged kidnapping gang that was wiped out after his documents were planted in their lair.
    Lack of cooperation on the case by Egypt led to Rome's temporarily withdrawing its ambassador from Cairo for a spell.
    The Regenis have appealed to the EU for help in finding the truth about their son's slaying and have condemned continued Italian arms sales to Egypt including two frigates, as well as new gas and migration deals.


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