Egypt rejects charge against police in Italian’s death

Egypt's interior minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar speaks during a press conference on February 8, 2016 in the capital Cairo.

Egypt’s interior minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar speaks during a press conference on February 8, 2016 in the capital Cairo.


Egypt’s interior minister Monday rejected charges of security forces involvement in the case of Italian Giulio Regeni, who was found dead bearing signs of torture after disappearing in Cairo last month.

“This did not happen,” Magdy Abdel Ghaffar said at a press conference when a reporter asked if Regeni, a Cambridge University PhD student, had been arrested by the police.

“It is completely unacceptable that such accusations be directed” at the interior ministry, he said.

“This is not Egyptian security policy — Egyptian security has never been accused of such a matter.”

Regeni disappeared on January 25 and was found dead on February 3.

An Italian autopsy after his body’s repatriation at the weekend concluded that he was killed by a violent blow to the base of the skull having already suffered multiple fractures all over his body.

Rights activists and several opposition groups say Regeni, who was doing research on Egyptian trade union movements, had been arrested by the police and tortured.

The diplomatic community and the Italian media have also raised the possibility of torture.

Global rights groups have regularly denounced mysterious disappearances of activists, torture and beating of detainees in Egyptian detention centres.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has himself urged security forces to restrain themselves after several cases of custodial deaths emerged in recent months.

Regeni went missing in central Cairo while on the way to meet a friend on January 25, the fifth anniversary of the start of the uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

On the anniversary Cairo was quiet, with police deployed across the capital to prevent any demonstrations.

Regeni’s body was found in a ditch in a Cairo suburb bearing signs of torture.


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