Italian prosecutor in Egypt to probe killing of researcher

AP News
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Posted: Mar 14, 2016 10:24 AM

CAIRO (AP) — Italy's chief prosecutor arrived in Egypt on Monday to follow up on the investigation into the killing of an Italian researcher whose body was found on the outskirts of Cairo bearing signs of torture.

Suspicions that Egypt's security forces may have been involved in the killing of Giulio Regeni, 28, have raised tensions between Cairo and Europe.

The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution expressing "grave concern" that Egyptian authorities were behind the killing of Regeni, who went missing on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising, when police were heavily deployed across Cairo. His body was found nine days later.

The arrival of chief prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone, came after Italian officials said Egypt has not fully cooperated with requests for information.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni called the visit "a very important opportunity to give the cooperation regarding the tragic and barbaric murder of our researcher, which until now has not been sufficient, a jump in quality."

"I'm convinced that this meeting can at least try to create the basis for a more intense and more satisfying cooperation," he said during a visit to Brussels.

Egypt's Interior Ministry says Regeni was never detained by security forces and denies authorities had anything to do with his killing. Officials have suggested Regeni was killed as part of a personal dispute.

Egyptian officials said Monday that prosecutors have questioned a witness who says he saw Regeni quarreling with another foreigner at the Italian Consulate a day before his disappearance. The officials say the consulate has video from surveillance cameras that it hasn't shared.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

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Associated Press writer Colleen Barry in Rome contributed to this report.