Italian-Egyptian statement: Metro surveillance footage contains gaps, no trace of Regeni

Crime-sceneSurveillance footage of the Cairo metro station where murdered Italian researcher Giulio Regeni was last seen, submitted to Italian prosecutors after a lengthy back and forth, shows no sign of the PhD student, according to a joint statement issued by Italian and Egyptian prosecutors on Wednesday.

Further investigation is required to determine the reason behind several “gaps” found in the surveillance tapes dated January 25, 2016, the day Regeni disappeared, according to the prosecutors who acquired the footage as part of the investigation into the 28-year-old researcher’s death.

After initial resistance from Egyptian authorities, the Egyptian public prosecution handed over the metro footage and other material relevant to the case file to its Italian counterpart on May 29.

Earlier that month, before the footage was handed to Italian investigators, Italian news agency Ansa revealed that a Russian technical team working in conjunction with Egyptian investigators had started retrieving footage from the metro surveillance cameras of the day of Regeni’s disappearance.

Regeni, a PhD candidate who was undertaking his research in Egypt, disappeared from a metro station on January 25, 2016 as he was traveling from his apartment in the west Cairo neighborhood of Dokki, to meet a friend downtown. His body was found a few days later on February 3, naked and bearing signs of severe torture beside a highway on the outskirts of the city.

On March 24, 2016, the Egyptian Interior Ministry announced that police forces had killed those responsible for Regeni’s murder during a raid. According to the ministry, five men belonging to a criminal gang  “specializing in theft from foreigners” had items belonging to the Italian student in their possession. The account was largely dismissed by Regeni’s family, Italian investigators and Egyptian prosecutors.

Egyptian authorities admitted in September 2016 to placing Regeni, who was researching independent syndicates in Egypt, under police surveillance, but denied any involvement in his death.

In an effort to pressure Egyptian authorities to release evidence pertaining to the investigation, Italy recalledformer Ambassador to Egypt Maurizio Massari in April 2016. In September 2017, however, Italy reinstatedAmbassador Giampaolo Cantini to Cairo, a move that was denounced by Regeni’s family.

Italian investigators have accused 10 Egyptian officials of torturing and murdering the PhD student, an Italian government previously told Mada Masr, speaking on condition of anonymity in April 2017.