Italy orders trial for 4 Egyptians accused in student death

International

Paola Deffendi, mother of Giulio Regeni, enters a court in Rome, Tuesday, May 25, 2021 to attend a preliminary hearing for four high-ranking members of the Egypt’s security forces under investigation for their alleged roles in the torture and killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in 2016. Regeni’s body was found on a highway days after he disappeared in the Egyptian capital on Jan. 25, 2016. He was in Cairo to research union activities among street vendors as part of his doctoral thesis. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP)

ROME (AP) — A Rome judge on Tuesday ordered four high-ranking members of Egypt’s security forces to stand trial for the abduction, torture and killing in Cairo of an Italian doctoral student.

Judge Pierluigi Balestrieri set Oct. 14 as the date for the opening of the trial, the LaPresse news agency reported after a closed-door preliminary hearing. It is widely expected that the suspects will be tried in absentia.

In December, Italian prosecutors formally put the four Egyptians under investigation for their alleged roles in the 2016 slaying of Giulio Regeni.

Regeni’s body was found on a highway days after he disappeared in the Egyptian capital on Jan. 25, 2016. He was in Cairo to research union activities among street vendors as part of his doctoral thesis.

His mother has said his body was so mutilated by torture that she was only able to recognize the tip of his nose when she viewed it. Human rights activists have said the marks on his body resembled those resulting from widespread torture in Egyptian facilities.

Egyptian authorities have alleged that the Cambridge University doctoral student fell victim to ordinary robbers.

The case strained relations between Italy and Egypt, an ally for Rome in efforts to combat terrorism. At one point, Italy withdrew its ambassador to press for Egyptian cooperation in the investigation.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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