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Regeni's Cambridge tutor will be quizzed (4)

'Significant step forward'

(ANSA) - Rome, December 6 - Giulio Regeni's Cambridge tutor will be questioned in a probe into the torture and murder of he doctoral student in Cairo early last year, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Wednesday. "The British judge has accepted the European investigation warrant and that the Cambridge professor can be questioned," he said after meeting British counterpart Boris Johnson earlier today. Alfano called it a "significant development, a significant step forward".
    The lecturer, Maha Mahfouz Abdel Rahman, will be questioned by Rome prosecutors in January, the prosecutor's office in Rome said.
    The Cambridge police are identifying and questioning students who went to Egypt to do research or study before Regeni, the office said.
    The office confirmed that British authorities were providing the utmost collaboration with the porbe. Regeni's former Cambridge tutor Abdelrahman failed to meet a summons to appear before Italian prosecutors in June, sources said last month.
    The encounter at a Cambridge police station was first set for 9.00 on June 7, then postponed to 16:00 on the same day, and then to June 8, but the professor did not turn up, the sources said on November 3.
    After the report, a Cambridge University spokesperson told ANSA that Abdelrahman "has repeatedly expressed her willingness to fully cooperate with the Italian prosecutors".
    Rome prosecutors sent a new formal petition to the British authorities in October to be able to question Abdelrahman La Repubblica said.
    The Rome-based daily reported that the prosecutors also want to acquire the professor's mobile and fixed-line phone records from between January 2015 and February 28 2016 to reconstruct her network of relations.
    The move regards alleged ambiguity and omissions by the woman in relation to the probe into the torture and murder of the 28-year-old Italian post-graduate student in Egypt early last year, La Repubblica wrote in an article entitled 'The Lies of Cambridge'.
    Rome prosecutors reportedly want clarification on several aspects of the case, the newspaper said.
    These regard how the subject of Regeni's research on street trader unions was chosen, the selection of his tutor in Egypt, the research method used, who decided what questions to ask the traders and whether Regeni gave the results of his research to Professor Abdelrahman during a meeting in Cairo on January 7, 2016.
    Rome prosecutors have also asked the British judicial authorities to identify all of the Cambridge University students working under Abdelrahman who were sent to Cairo between 2012 and 2015, sources said on Thursday.
    The petition requests that those students be questioned in the presence of Italian investigators. The investigators want to know whether there were other cases like Regeni's in which students were asked to research the independent unions in Egypt.
    Regeni was asked to look into this by his tutor even though his PhD regarded the general subject of the North African nation's economic development.
    Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said earlier this month that Egypt would give Italian prosecutors CCTV footage from the metro the day Regeni disappeared.
    "As soon as the European company we have tasked with recovering the images shot by the Cairo underground cameras has done so, our commitment will be to provide them to Italian investigators," he said.
    Shoukry added, however, that a final decision was down to the "prosecutor who is independent and will decide on the merits of the case".
    In November Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi said he wants to "find those guilty" for the death of Friuli-born Regeni. El-Sisi said he believes the murder was an attempt to frustrate Italian investment in Egypt.
    "We are working in a very transparent way with the Italian authorities," he said.
    El-Sisi said Italian-Egyptian relations are among the best, despite the fact that they were hit hard by the Regeni case.
    Egypt has previously given 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.


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