Video shows Regeni talking to union head (5)

Filmed with police shirt-button micro-camera

(ANSA) - Cairo, January 23 - An Egyptian TV station on Monday showed a video in which Giulio Regeni, the Italian researcher tortured and murdered in Cairo a year ago, is shown speaking to the president of the Egyptian street sellers' trade union, Mohamed Abdallah. The video was filmed using a Cairo police micro-camera hidden in one of Abdallah's shirt buttons, sources said. They said this confirms for investigators the involvement of the police in shooting the video.
    In the exchange broadcast by the Sada El Balad TV, Abdallah asks for money to treat his cancer-hit wife and Regeni refuses the request but holds out the prospect of funding a gathering of "information" on the trade union and its "needs".
    The video, subsequently posted on Youtube, but broadcast exclusively by Italian daily website Messagero.it, shows the face of Regeni, who is heard speaking in good Arabic answering a man speaking Egyptian who is evidently holding a half-hidden cellphone.
    "First video of Regeni with the president of the trade union of the street sellers," reads a caption.
    The unionist, among other things, says "my wife has cancer and must have an operation and I have to look for money, it doesn't matter where." Regeni replies: "the money isn't mine. I can't use money for any reason because I'm an academic" When Abdallah insists, the researcher replies that the money "come via Britain and the Egyptian centre that gives it to the street traders".
    "We must try to get ideas and obtain information before the month of March, Regeni says in the video, which lasts 3 minutes 47 seconds.
    When asked "what type of information do you want?", the researcher replies: "what is the most important thing for you as regards the trade union and what are the union's needs? "I want information starting from this issue, the most important for us, and ideas can be developed," Regeni says.
    Regeni, 28, who disappeared on January 25 2016, the heavily police fifth anniversary of the uprising that toppled former strongman Hosni Mubarak, was doing doctoral research on trade unions, a contentious issue in Egypt.
    The Cambridge University PhD student, whose mutilated body was found in a ditch on the road to Alexandria on February 3, was last seen alive walking into a Cairo metro station.
    At the weekend Egyptian prosecutors said Italian and German experts could view CCTV footage of Regeni at the station.
    In December Egyptian prosecutors gave their Italian colleagues a transcript of testimony from Abdallah, who "spontaneously told police of the contacts he had with Regeni until January 22, 2016", three days before he disappeared.
    The Egyptians also handed over a video of a meeting with Regeni shot by the union head at the beginning of January, the statement said.
    In September Regeni was seen on a video talking to Abdallah on December 7, 2015, when he reportedly presented a project to obtain 10,000 Egyptian pounds in favour of street vendors.
    Abdallah said last December that he reported Regeni to the interior ministry before he was abducted, because he was allegedly asking questions about national security.
    In August the Reuters news agency said Abdallah was likely a police informant on Regeni.
    Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano told the House last Wednesday that Italy will only stop when it gets to the truth about Regeni's death. "We'll continue to follow the path of firmness and cooperation, the effort will continue with the same determination there has been up till now," he said, stressing that "so far the collaboration between Italian prosecutors and the Cairo prosecutor's office has produced fruitful results".
    Egypt has denied speculation its security forces, who are frequently accused of brutally repressing opposition, were involved in Regeni's death.
    Egyptian and Italian prosecutors have been working on the case together and there has been some recent progress in getting cellphone and other records.
    But Italy has yet to send its new ambassador to take up his post in Cairo.
    Italy has dismissed several earlier versions of Regeni's death including a car accident, a gay lovers' tiff turned ugly and kidnap for ransom that went wrong.
    Egyptian police wiped out the alleged kidnapping gang and said they found Regeni's documents in the home of a relative of the alleged gang leader.
    In October President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Italy was falsely suspecting Egyptian security forces in the Regeni case because it is heeding "groundless" Egyptian media reports.
   

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