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Italy offers to help Egypt investigate murder of graduate student

Giulio Regeni, a PhD student studying Egypt's labour unions, was found dead a week after the 5-year anniversary of Egypt's uprising
The 28-year-old's killing has turned the spotlight on what rights and opposition groups say are increasing abuses by security services (AFP)

Italy's chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone on Monday offered Rome's assistance in the Egyptian investigation into the murder of an Italian graduate student after his abduction in Cairo.

Giulio Regeni, 28, was a doctoral candidate at the UK's Cambridge University, and was in Egypt researching the development of Egyptian trade unions when he disappeared on 25 January - the same day as the fifth anniversary of Egypt’s uprising that overthrew long-time leader Hosni Mubarak. His body was found mutilated a week later.

Egypt's Attorney General Nabil Sadeq discussed the investigation with Pignatone, who was visiting Cairo along with his deputy Sergio Colaiocco after an invitation.

"The Italian side proposed its assistance to Egyptian investigators and to provide all information in its possession," said a statement, stressing the determination of both parties to shed light on the case.

Last Thursday, the European parliament passed a resolution condemning “the torture and assassination” of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Egypt, describing the killing as not being isolated but taking place in a “context of torture, death in custody and enforced disappearances”.

“It is sad that it took the torturing to death of a European student to act as a wake-up call for some that still needed one,” Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake told Middle East Eye last week.

“This case, along with the structural repression of Egyptians, including through torture, imprisonment and disappearances, should much more strongly guide EU policies towards Egypt,” she added.

In February, Egyptian Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar rejected allegations that security forces were involved in the murder of Regeni.

The 28-year-old's slaying became a cause celebre among academics around the world and has turned the spotlight on what rights and opposition groups say are increasing abuses by security services under the military-backed government in Cairo.

Police and intelligence services in Egypt are frequently accused of carrying out torture in arbitrary detention and the killing of detainees.