Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek agreed Sunday to a request by Rome’s Chief Prosecutor to send Italian and other experts from a specialized German company to retrieve CCTV footage, that could help in revealing the circumstances behind the murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni in Cairo last year.
Sadek agreed to the request in the frame work of continued cooperation between the Egyptian and Italian prosecutors to resolve the one-year-old case, which led to strains in relations between the two countries,according to an official statement by the Egyptian prosecution,
Sadek also urged Egyptian security agencies to end their investigations on the incident.
The CCTV footage to be recovered are those captured by security cameras at Dokki’s Metro station, which reportedly recorded the last images of Regeni before his disappeared on 25 January, 2016.
Two days ago, Italy’s foreign minister Angelino Alfano told the Italian parliament that his country will not rest until it uncovers the truth behind the murder.
Giulio Regeni, the Ph.D. student who was doing postgraduate research into Egyptian trade unions, disappeared on the fifth anniversary of January Revolution.
The Cambridge University student’s body was found brutally tortured in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, on February 3, 2016.
His mother said that she could only recognize him by his nose.
Torture found on Regeni’s body showed the signs of Egypt’s security forces which are known for using violence against detainees to gain information and confessions.
The Egyptian authorities have narrated several stories about the Italian student murder.
They previously claimed he was killed in a traffic accident. Then, they claimed he was kidnapped and murdered by a gang specialized in killing foreigners. Four suspected men were shot dead by the Egyptian security forces.
The relations between Egypt and Italy have soared as Italy has repeatedly expressed its dissent from the Egyptian authorities which have been accused of not cooperating to find those responsible for Regeni’s brutal death.
On June 30, the Italian Senate voted to halt supplies to Egypt of spare parts for F16 warplanes in protest against the killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni.
Two months before the Italian Senate decision, Italy recalled the Italian ambassador from Egypt in light of the unresolved murder of the Italian Student.
Last December, Egypt’s Prosecutor General visited Rome to discuss developments in the investigation which was the fifth meeting between Egyptian prosecutors and their Italian counterparts since the murder.
During the visit, Nabil Sadek assured the parents of Regeni of Egypt’s commitment to achieving justice in the case.
Leaks from the meeting between Egypt’s Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek and Rome’s Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone and the Italian investigation team, which lasted for 36 hours, appeared intermittently through media reports by some Italian journalists especially in La Repubblica and Corriere de la Serra (Italian newspapers).
A long, detailed anonymous letter was sent to the Italian embassy in Bern, Switzerland and published by La Repubblica described the involvement of different branches of the Egyptian secret services. It also reported that Regeni’s body had been wrapped in an Egyptian army blanket, to direct suspicion towards the military police.
In addition, the Italian Corriere de la Serra linked in some articles, it published, between the enforced disappearances phenomenon in Egypt and the murder of Giulio Regeni.
In fact, these allegations weren’t denied by the Egyptian Embassy in Rome or the prosecutor general’s office in Cairo which proves its validity, especially that it revealed secrets about Regeni’s murder that are unknown to the Egyptian public because they were hidden by the prosecutor general’s office although a publication ban on the case wasn’t officially issued.
The first surprise that appeared in the meeting with the Italian investigation team when Egypt’s Public Prosecutor confessed – with irrefutable evidence – that the Egyptian security forces have lied on both the Egyptian and the Italian parties.
According to the false story narrated by the interior ministry, the security forces have followed Regeni for three days only starting from January 7 to January 10 as a result of a file issued from the head of the independent street vendors’ union Mohamed Abdallah who reported Regeni to the authorities as posing danger to the national security.
After Regeni’s death, he told the Arabic-language newspaper Aswat Masriya that he became suspicious of Regeni because his questions “were not about street vendors … and had other intentions … I am not an informant but I believe I am protecting my country.”
Egypt’s interior ministry said that as a result of Abdallah’s tip-off, it placed Regeni under investigation, but they said that they ended following him on January 10 after they realized that his research was not dangerous and had “no interest to national security” which was denied by Egypt’s Prosecutor General by all means.
In this context, Nabil Sadek presented evidence against the Egyptian security forces narration.
First, he represented the investigations adopted by his office confirming that the security forces continued to follow Regeni directly through their men since he returned back from Italy after celebrating the Christmas with his family and this close investigation lasted till January 14.
Then, it continued to follow him through their agents till January 22 -three days before his disappearance. According to the public prosecutor, the security forces’ right hand for following Regeni was “Agent” Mohamed Abdallah the head of the independent vendors’ union.
The public prosecutor was able to acquire a recorded phone call to Mohamed Abdallah with the security forces where he informed them with Regeni’s moves on January 22 and the public prosecutor handed over the recorded phone call to the Italian investigators.
He also delivered a video that Mohamed Abdallah has recorded to Regeni based on orders from the Egyptian security forces.
In addition, Nabil Sadek has also handed over Rome’s Chief Prosecutor five recorded telephone calls for five leaders in the Egyptian National Security Service from January till March, more than one month after Regeni’s murder, as they were the ones responsible for his security file.
The phone records proved that the interior ministry’s narration in all its details was false.
The prosecutor general also handed over to Pignatone phone records for 11 people who hold security positions and others who work as agents for the security forces as Mohamed Abdallah -the head of the vendors’ union.
In fact, the recorded phone calls were all about Regeni and his activities in Egypt.
As a result, the Italians believed that the real culprits who abducted, tortured and killed Regeni hide behind the closed doors of the Egyptian security services.
In addition, Nabil Sadek gave them a “major gift” that his investigation has shown strong doubts about the authenticity of accusing the five Egyptians who were all shot dead by security forces while they were on a micro bus – according to the story of the Interior Ministry – of being behind the murder of Regeni.
The five passengers were killed by the police forces on March 24.
The prosecutor general informed the Italian investigators that this accident was used by the security forces as “a coverage “to hide the real murderer and accordingly he has referred two of the police officers, who participated in killing the five victims, to investigations to know the truth about what happened especially that there was no exchange of fire with the five victims as claimed by the security forces.
The investigation team didn’t find any blood traces inside the micro bus which means that they were killed outside it. Accordingly, they weren’t attacking the police forces and this means that they were killed previously.
Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek handed over a copy of the investigations conducted with two police officers to the Italian investigators.
In fact, there are speculations that al-Sisi may sacrifice some of his low ranking officers.
Egypt tries to contain the situation to avoid turning Regeni’s case to an international case which would turn the head of the Egyptian executive authority -the head of the state- as one of the defendants in the crime and this would probably put Sisi onto an international trial.
It is noteworthy that Europe has already started to unite its official stance against Egypt after the European Union has recommended banning weapons exports to Egypt considering it a country that violates human rights, as it built its accusation on Regeni’s murder case and Cairo’s efforts to cover the real killers behind the crime.
Moreover, Cairo tries to speed its pace amid the dramatic political changes that occurred in Italy recently and led to the overthrow of Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who was described as al-Sisi’s friend, and the rise of a new political power that is known for its opposition to al-Sisi regime.
As a result, the regime has no choice but to give up its tradition in protecting the crimes of its security forces against the Egyptian citizens this time as Regeni’s case is totally different.
It seems that there is a trend now in the regime to desert its men to face the responsibility and carry the crime burden on their backs alone because if al-Sisi protected them this time, he will be the convicted internationally which he totally rejects.