The Ministry of Interior reiterated its denial of media reports sugging the involvement of security agencies in the death of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, who was found dead in Cairo early February.
“Several foreign newspapers published false news ultimately, regarding the circumstances,” the ministry’s press office said in a statement.
Italian and international media reports of the case over the past week suggested that the Italian PhD candidate was abducted or detained by security forces prior his death.
A number of top officials, including Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar and Egyptian ambassador to Italy Amr Helmy, denied the involvement of security agencies in the incident or that Regeni was in the custody of police or security agencies.
La Stampa, a prominent Italian daily, reported that a witness, Regeni’s neighbour, testified that “the men who seized the researcher … were plain clothes police”. The witness also said a policeman allegedly came to the building three days before Regeni’s disappearance on 25 January to “ask questions and check our identity documents”.
Regeni, 28, was a PhD student at the University of Cambridge in the UK and had come to Cairo as a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC) to research Egyptian labour unions. He was reported missing on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution and was last known to be going downtown Cairo via the Behouth metro station in the nearby neighbourhood of Dokki.
His body was later found on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road highway, a significant distance from both his house in downtown Cairo and where he was last seen on 25 January.
According to the Italian foreign ministry, the Italian embassy in Cairo has contacted Egyptian authorities over the case “from the very first hours after his disappearance”.
Investigative teams have tracked the last movements and calls made by Regeni prior to his disappearance. According to a security source, the investigations suggest that Regeni was killed in an apartment in downtown Cairo.