Second trial opens in Rome for murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni

In a renewed pursuit of justice, Italy commences a second trial on Tuesday for the heinous kidnapping and murder of 28-year-old Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo.

The trial, involving four Egyptian security officers accused of the brutal killing, follows the dismissal of the initial 2021 proceedings due to procedural issues.

Regeni, conducting research in Egypt, was abducted in January 2016, only to be found nine days later on the outskirts of Cairo bearing signs of extensive torture. The incident strained diplomatic ties between Italy and Egypt, with Italian MPs openly accusing Cairo of hindering attempts to prosecute the suspects.

The new trial comes after the Constitutional Court ruled in September that the case could proceed in the absence of the defendants, as they remain untraceable. General Tariq Sabir, Colonels Athar Kamel and Uhsam Helmi, and Major Magdi Ibrahim Abdelal Sharif face charges of kidnapping, with Sharif also charged for inflicting fatal injuries.

Defense lawyer Tranquillino Sarno, representing Kamel, emphasized the defendants’ untraceability, asserting that even if convicted, they would unlikely serve their sentences.

Regeni’s tragic fate unfolded as investigators believe he was mistaken for a foreign spy due to his research on Egyptian trade unions, a politically sensitive topic. His mutilated body was identified by his mother only through the “tip of his nose,” revealing broken teeth, fractured bones, and inscribed letters on his flesh.

A parliamentary commission in December 2021, shortly after the dismissal of the first trial, implicated Egypt’s security agency in Regeni’s death. The commission accused Egypt’s judiciary of obstructive and openly hostile behavior for failing to disclose the defendants’ whereabouts.

Compounding the frustration, in December 2020, Egypt’s public prosecutor cleared all four suspects, along with a fifth, of responsibility for Regeni’s murder, further fueling the tensions between the two nations.

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