Four Egyptian security officials will be tried in absentia in Italy on Thursday for the brutal murder of Italian student Julio Regini five years ago in Cairo.
The officers are accused of kidnapping and conspiracy. Murder And the severe physical damage in this case, which caused outrage in Italy and strained diplomatic relations with Egypt.
Regini, 28, who was pursuing a doctorate at Cambridge University, was abducted in January 2016. He had extensive marks of torture on his body, and was eventually dumped on the outskirts of the city. Cairo.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio welcomed the first hearing in Rome because “no results were found in the weeks following the discovery of Giulio’s body”, when the case appeared unresolved.
But the trial may end before it even begins.
The court will have to decide whether the four accused are aware of the court proceedings against them in accordance with the law. Egypt has refused to provide contact details.
In a preliminary hearing in May, a judge ruled that media coverage meant that news of the investigation into the four would reach them. The court upheld or annulled the decision on Thursday.
The four are named in court documents after General Tariq Sabir, Col. Athar Kamil and Ehsam Helmi and Major Magdi Ibrahim Abdul Sharif, who are charged with murder.
Investigators believe Regini was abducted and killed by a foreign spy.
Prosecutor Michel Prestipino told a parliamentary committee in December that there was “significant evidence” of Egyptian officials being involved in the killings – an allegation Egypt has denied.
His team alleges that Sharif received informants to follow Regini, was arrested and “severely tortured”. Regini’s teeth were broken and her arms and legs were broken. He died of suffocation.
According to media reports, Regini’s legal team has asked all Italian prime ministers and foreign ministers since 2016 to testify alongside the country’s intelligence chiefs.
But court-appointed defense attorney Tranquilino Sarno told AFP that the case would “stand or fall.” The main eyewitnesses to the prosecutor’s case testified in person in Rome.
Regini’s body was found nine days after her disappearance. His mother later said it was so badly distorted that she only recognized her son by the “tip of his nose.”
As part of his doctoral work, Regini was researching Egyptian trade unions, a particularly sensitive political issue.
His assassination sparked fresh criticism of the human rights record under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Claudio Francoella, of Human Rights Watch, told reporters in Rome on Wednesday that the trial was being closely watched as a “sign of hope for Egyptians”.