ROME: Keeping up its press for the “truth” in the torture and slaying of an Italian graduate student in Cairo, Italy on Friday announced it was recalling its ambassador from the Egyptian capital for urgent consultations.
Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni was recalling Ambassador Maurizio Massari for “an urgent evaluation of more opportune initiatives to relaunch the commitment aimed at determining the truth about the barbarous murder of Giulio Regeni,” a ministry statement said.
The 28-year-old student, who was researching Egyptian labor movements, disappeared on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary on the Egyptian uprising, when police and other Egyptian security personnel were out in force in Cairo to discourage protests. His body was found near a Cairo highway on Feb. 3. Italian officials said an Italian autopsy found signs of “protracted” torture over several days, and that Regeni appears to have died on Feb. 1 or 2.
Italy’s foreign ministry said the decision to step up diplomatic pressure by recalling the ambassador was taken after meetings Thursday and Friday in Rome between visiting Egyptian investigators and Italian prosecutors and police.
Although the ministry statement wasn’t more specific, the recall was widely seen in Italy as a sign that the meetings failed to satisfy Italian authorities. Rome-based prosecutors have insisted that Egypt turn over records of Regeni’s cell phone use from the time of disappearance and other information, including surveillance camera video from the near the metro station where he was last seen.
The ministry didn’t suggest what other initiatives the Italian government might take against Egypt, which is a big trading partner. Italian energy company ENI has decades-long extensive dealings with Egypt.
Last week, Regeni’s anguished parents said Italy should declare Egypt “unsafe” for Italians to visit, saying their son was only one of many torture victims in the north African country.